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Blood supply concerns grow as pandemic restrictions ease

While much of Canada will welcome eased pandemic restrictions over the summer, Canadian Blood Services is concerned about ensuring a stable national blood supply.

In a release this week, the organization said over 23,000 donors will be needed by July 31 to replenish supplies.

Peter MacDonald, director of donor relations for Canadian Blood Services in Atlantic Canada, said the organization’s inventory is in good shape for now but there are challenges ahead.

He said relaxed COVID-19 restrictions mean hospitals are now able to catch up on the backlog caused by the pandemic, and demand for blood has been “restored to pre-COVID levels and beyond.”

peter macdonald
Peter MacDonald, director of donor relations for Canadian Blood Services in Atlantic Canada, says summer combined with eased pandemic restrictions will create inventory challenges. (Peter MacDonald)

On the supply side, good weather and eased restrictions have resulted in an increase in the number of donor no-shows and cancelled appointments as people resume travelling, MacDonald said. 

He said the combination of higher demand and lower supply is “not a good equation” for the organization’s inventory.

According to MacDonald, Atlantic Canadians are normally generous when it comes to blood donations, but summer is an annual challenge.

“We see more people travelling, more people on the road, and the potential for more accidents that could possibly use blood and blood products,” he said.

MacDonald is urging people to go to the Canadian Blood Services website and make an appointment to donate. 

He said appointments can be made for a mobile donation site or for the permanent site at Bayers Lake in Halifax that is open from Monday to Saturday. Because of COVID-19, walk-ins are not being accepted.

The entire process takes less than an hour, he said. 


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