Canadian Blood Services is urging donors to keep their appointments because it predicts it will fall short of supplies of certain types of blood products next week.
The non-profit charitable organization says it has three days worth of O+ and O-, five days worth of A+, A- and B- and six days worth of B+ blood products, according to its national inventory.
Delphine Denis, spokesperson for Canadian Blood Services, said in an email on Saturday that the organization predicts it will fall short of its target for donations by 3,000 units next week based on the current number of appointments that have been booked. That means a drop of 17 per cent in its national inventory.
“We urge new and returning blood, platelet, and plasma donors to book and keep appointments,” she said.
“It is important to remember that the need for blood, plasma and platelets is constant. Cancer patients, accident/trauma victims, people undergoing surgery and people with blood disorders rely on blood, platelets and plasma transfusions every day.”
On July 25, the organization suspended its mandatory masks and physical distancing policy in its buildings, vehicles and donation events. The move has prompted some donors to say on Twitter that they will cancel their appointments.
The organization has said in response: “We are now able to shift from mandatory to optional measures, largely because the majority of people are fully vaccinated and illness now caused by COVID-19 is far less severe in most cases.”
57,000 appointments need to be filled by end of August
Denis said there are 57,000 open appointments that must be filled before the end of August across Canada for the organization to be able to provide patients across Canada with the essential blood products they need on time. Donations have been dropping since July 1.
Summer is always difficult when it comes to donations, she said, but this year is considered more challenging because it is the first summer since 2019 when there have been few to no public health restrictions on travel and activities.
As well, there have been fewer in-person community events to recruit new donors and encourage existing donors to give blood, Denis said, and donors could be dealing with sickness or in isolation due to COVID-19.
“The national blood inventory continues to meet patients’ needs, but Canada needs 100,000 new donors this year to keep up with demand,” she said.
Denis said it is possible for national reserves to be replenished if people go and donate blood in the coming weeks.
Same day and open appointment spots are available every day at donor centres and community events across the country, she added.
“Missed or cancelled appointments are difficult for us to fill. If you make an appointment, try to keep it. If you are unable to make it to your appointment, please cancel it so we can find someone else to take your place or consider re-booking in coming months.”