Canadian Blood Services reassures the public that blood donated by anyone who has had COVID-19 or who has been vaccinated is safe.
“Since COVID is a respiratory virus, there is no impact on the blood when it comes to transmission to a patient. There is no worry, ”said Chantale Pambrun, director of the Canadian Blood Services Innovation Center in Ottawa.
More than 955,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Canada in the past year and the long-term effects on survivors are still mostly unknown.
Pambrun said people who do not feel well after receiving the vaccine or long-term COVID-19 patients still under medical care are not eligible to donate.
Blood from former patients with COVID-19 was used in a nationwide pilot project in which it was injected into people with the virus. The hope was that the antibodies of those who had successfully overcome the disease could stimulate healing.
“This was realistically the only way to deliver antibodies to COVID before any kind of vaccine was available,” said Dr Davinder Sidhu, a pathologist who led the project from Foothills Medical Center in Calgary.
The project is now complete and the data is being analyzed. Canadian Blood Services collects results to get a feel for the community in different parts of the country
Sidhu, associate clinical professor at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, agrees that there is no problem with blood donated by a sick or vaccinated person.
“Usually we focus on the exclusion criteria for transfusion or donating blood on HIV and certain types of parasitic infections,” he said.
“COVID is not on this list. “
About 400,000 out of 37 million people in Canada donate blood regularly.
Canadian Blood Services maintains a national inventory that allows products to be regularly moved across the country to meet needs. But the inventory has a shelf life – one year for frozen plasma, 42 days for red blood cells, and five days for platelets – so it takes work to ensure that supply continues to meet demand.
So far, Canadians still donate the 17,000 units per week that are needed to meet this demand. Part of that success is due to new donors and the limited take-over of mobile clinics to sites where physical distancing is possible, Pambrun said.
“We serve more than 600 hospitals. So far we have been able to keep pace. “