Canada’s blood supply plummets to its lowest level in a decade


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

The organization says the virus, which has existed since March 2020, has led to its smallest funding base in a decade.

Rick Prinzen, director of supply chain and vice president of funding relations for Blood Services Canada.

“Many of our regular donors donate several times a year.”

An inventory monitoring service from which blood and blood products are regularly shipped across the country to meet hospital and patient needs.

About 400,000 Canadians donate blood on a regular basis.

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

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

“We are currently experiencing a double loss of sponsors due to COVID-19 and the inability to recruit new sponsors at in-person community events because of limitations in two years,” said Prinzen. past year.

“Patients’ lives depend on new donors.”

Demand for blood products has dropped dramatically as the pandemic has brought travel to a near standstill and all but the most important surgeries cancelled.

At the same time, Canada’s Blood Service could not accept multiple donors because of the physical requirements in different clinics, so the two were balanced.

But as things return to normal, demand is increasing, Prinzen said.

Eric Polo, 15, from Toronto, receives blood products every month for a rare condition that affects the body’s production of red blood cells.

“They keep me alive,” he said.

“I am very grateful for what the blood donors have done.”

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

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