Blood, Plasma Donations Requested Urgently Amid Shortfall Brought by Winter Storm

An urgent plea for blood and plasma donations has been put out by Canadian Blood Services following shortages after the hard winter storm. Blood and plasma donations fell short by about 1,500 which is about 10 percent of the expected collections. The agency also announced a critical need for O-negative blood.

Canadian Blood Services issued a statement today, December 27, stating that blood and plasma collection has been disrupted because of weather conditions. Donors are needed immediately for all communities to help restore the supply. Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ chief supply chain officer and vice president of donor relations said, “Weather conditions are presenting significant challenges to our re-distribution opportunities, making national inventory balance a challenge. We urge donors from all communities across Canada, who can safely get to a Canadian Blood Services donation center, to book an appointment as soon as possible to help restore and grow the blood and plasma supply for patients.”

Weather conditions such as icy roads, extremely cold temperatures, and heavy snowfall has led to a shortfall of about 1,500 or 10 percent of the expected blood and plasma collections. This could be further impacted due to continuing weather threats.

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The agency shared that several blood types are below optimal levels. Blood type O-negative is critically low and donors are desperately needed. “Patients across Canada need donors more than ever as we head into the new year. Poor weather can also create an increase in trauma events, increasing the demand for blood. Every donation counts. It could literally save a life,” Prinzen added.

Currently, Canadian Blood Services has three or four days of several blood types on hand. Ideally, they should have stock for five to eight days. Canadian Blood Services is open this week during normal working hours and into the new year. Since October, the stock of blood and plasma has declined over 35 percent. Regular donors have also reduced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the needs of patients are being met with the smallest donor base in a decade which is not sustainable.

Vineet Washington

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