Canadian Blood Services says it is experiencing a severe supply shortage

Canadian Blood Services says it is struggling to replenish an extremely low national supply caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization says the virus that has persisted since March 2020 has resulted in the smallest donor base in a decade.

“The number of people in Canada who donate regularly has dropped by 31,000 since the start of the pandemic, which has strained the existing donor community,” said Rick Prinzen, director of supply chain and vice -President of Donor Relations for Canadian Blood Services.

“Many of our regular donors already make several donations a year.”

The department oversees the inventory from which blood and blood products are routinely moved across the country to meet hospital and patient needs.

Approximately 400,000 Canadians donate blood regularly.

But the inventory has a shelf life – one year for frozen plasma, 42 days for red blood cells and five days for platelets – so work needs to be done to ensure supply continues to meet demand.

Canadian Blood Services hopes that National Blood Donor Week will help attract 100,000 new donors this year. But summer is a traditionally slow time for donations, as people cancel appointments or go on vacation.

“At this time, we have compounded donor losses due to COVID-19 and we do not have the ability to recruit new donors at in-person community events due to restrictions over the past two years” , Prinzen said.

“Patients’ lives depend on the arrival of new donors.”

The need for blood products has drastically decreased as the pandemic has brought travel to a virtual halt and all but the most critical surgeries have been cancelled.

At the same time, Canadian Blood Services was unable to accommodate as many donors due to physical distancing requirements at clinics, so the two balanced each other.

But with the return to normal, demand is increasing, Prinzen said.

Eric Polo, 15, of Toronto, receives monthly blood products for a rare disease that affects his body’s production of red blood cells.

“They keep me alive,” he said.

“I am grateful for what blood donors do.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 13, 2022

As we celebrate our donors during National Blood Donor Week, we are also highlighting the immediate need for more donors.

Help us reach 100,000 new donors in 2022. Donate and join #CanadasLifeline today!

Visit: https://t.co/RTuOmIPbqL#ShineALight #NBDW #WBDD pic.twitter.com/QRLp2zOgL9

— Canadian Blood Services (@CanadasLifeline)
June 12, 2022


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