As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make people sick across Canada, health authorities are imploring Canadians to donate blood — all Canadians except men who have had recent sex with other men, despite a 2015 Liberal pledge to end this ban. A bag of blood is shown at a clinic in Montreal, Thursday, November 29, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make people sick across Canada, health authorities are imploring Canadians to donate blood — all Canadians except men who have had recent sex with other men, despite a 2015 Liberal pledge to end this ban. A bag of blood is shown at a clinic in Montreal, Thursday, November 29, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canadian Blood Services says donations from those who have had COVID-19 are safe

Given that COVID is a respiratory virus, there’s no impact blood as far as transmission to a patient

Canadian Blood Services is reassuring the public that blood donated by anyone who has had COVID-19 or who has been vaccinated is safe.

“Given that COVID is a respiratory virus, there’s no impact to the blood as far as transmission to a patient. There is no concern,” said Chantale Pambrun, director of the Canadian Blood Services Centre for Innovation in Ottawa.

More than 955,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Canada in the past year and the long-term effects on survivors are still mostly unknown.

The blood donation agency has added some pre-screening questions about whether a potential donor has been exposed to COVID-19 in the past two weeks or contracted the novel coronavirus in the past 28 days.

Pambrun said individuals who are not feeling well after receiving the vaccine or long-haul COVID-19 patients still under the care of a physician are not eligible to donate.

Blood from former COVID-19 patients has been used in a national pilot project in which it was injected into people who had the virus. The hope was that antibodies from those who had successfully overcome the illness could boost recovery.

“This was realistically the only way to provide antibodies to COVID prior to any sort of vaccine being available,” said Dr. Davinder Sidhu, a pathologist who led the project from the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.

The project is now over and data is being analyzed. Canadian Blood Services is collecting the results to get a sense of community spread in different regions across the country

Sidhu, a clinical associate professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, agrees there’s no concern with blood donated by someone who has been ill or vaccinated.

“Typically our focus on exclusion criteria for transfusion or donation of blood is on HIV and certain types of parasitic infections,” he said.

“COVID is not on that list.”

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million population give blood on a regular basis.

Canadian Blood Services operates a national inventory that allows products to be regularly shifted around the country to meet needs. But the inventory has a shelf life — a year for frozen plasma, 42 days for red blood cells and five days for platelets — so it takes some work to ensure supply continues to meet demand.

So far, Canadians are still giving the 17,000 units each week that are required to meet that demand. Part of that success has been due to new donors and limited resumption of mobile clinics at sites where physical distancing is possible, Pambrun said.

“We service over 600 hospitals. So far, we’ve been able to keep up.”

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

These nails were collected off the Campbell Mountain bike trails in Penticton this weekend. Someone placed them all over the trail. (Facebook)
Hundreds of nails placed on popular Penticton bike trail

A mountain biker took to Facebook to warn others about the nails

Chrystina Barnard, owner of Lucky’s Pet Supply, has made it her mission to visit as many patios in Penticton as a way to promote restaurants. Here she is enjoying an eggs benny with her best fur friend at Loki’s Garage in Penticton. (Facebook)
Penticton foodie commits to 19-day patio crawl to promote local restaurants

The small business owner wanted to help out eateries hurt by the new restrictions

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

Penticton fire truck
Residents evacuated after apartment fire in Penticton

The fire started in an apartment on Government Street Saturday night

Lori Jantz snapped this picture of a fight between a bald eagle and an osprey above Osoyoos Lake on Friday. (Lori Jantz photo)
Battle in the sky erupts above South Okanagan lake

Bald eagle and osprey fight mid-air in Osoyoos

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Vernon’s BX Elementary School. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Second COVID case confirmed at Okanagan elementary school

Exposure at Vernon’s BX Elementary happened April 6 and 7

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)
HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Most Read