The importance of donating blood during COVID-19 pandemic

Blood donations during the coronavirus outbreak are not only safe, but essential at this time

Blood donation is an essential health service, even during the coronavirus pandemic.

Donor centres have implemented new measures to ensure the safety of staff, donors and patients receiving transfusions during this time.

If you’re healthy, there’s a good chance you’ll be eligible to donate.

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In a press release Canadian Blood Services CEO, Dr. Graham Sher, reminded Canadians that “patients undergoing cancer treatment, trauma victims, mothers who have complications in childbirth and others - will continue to need blood and blood products...we need to provide these life saving products and services to patients in need as we manage this COVID-19 pandemic together.”

After this statement was released, Justin Trudeau and Theresa Tam resonated the message with the nation. Canadian Blood Services said their national inventory is in a good place.

However, “this is a marathon not a sprint” says Peter MacDonald with Canadian Blood Services in Atlantic Canada. “What many people don't realize is that blood is perishable. Plasma can be frozen and lasts for a year. Red cells last 42 days and platelets, which are a key component for cancer treatment, only last for up to 7 days.”

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Weather Network reporter Matt Nicolantonio was inspired by the messaging from Canadian Blood Services during this time and decided to donate.

“Everything felt very safe," explains Nicolantonio. "There was red tape on the flood that indicated where chairs were supposed to be or where you were supposed to stand. There was an individual doing a pre screening asking if you had travelled or had any symptoms or if you were feeling unwell. There was hand sanitizer everywhere for use. There were alot of health and safety protocols in place which made me feel very comfortable.”

SUBMITTED: Mark Karjaluoto, Canadian Blood Services

Photo courtesy of Mark Karjaluoto, Canadian Blood Services

“I would encourage others to get out and make an appointment as well because it is so critical during this time,” he adds.

People who are healthy and well are the ones who qualify for blood donations. Right now donations are appointment only in order to keep proper social distancing practices.

Photos all by: Mark Karjaluoto, Canadian Blood Services 2

Photo courtesy of Mark Karjaluoto, Canadian Blood Services

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Doctor Graham Sher thanked Canadians who booked appointments, saying “in these challenging times your commitment and generosity to patients in need cannot be overstated.”

Photo courtesy of Mark Karjaluoto, Canadian Blood Services 3

Photo courtesy of Mark Karjaluoto, Canadian Blood Services

Canadian Blood Services needs the help of our nation in order to maintain a healthy supply during this pandemic.



With files from The Conversation