The Canadian Blood Service (CBS) has O+ and O- blood types for only three days, and A+, A- and B- blood types for only five days, according to its website.
The agency says donations become “particularly necessary” when the supply of these blood types drops below eight days.
In June, CBS said it had reached its smallest donor base in a decade and was struggling to replenish a critically low national supply since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As of July 1, fees have steadily declined,” CBS said in a statement emailed to CTVNews.ca on Friday.
In July, the agency announced this. need to complete a donation assignment of 57,000 slots by the end of August, shortly after facing backlash later that month for the removal of the mandatory mask-wearing policy.
The move has led some donors to say they are considering canceling or rescheduling upcoming meetings.
“Based on our current appointment bookings, we predict that we will fall short of our 3,000 unit collection target this coming week,” CBS said in an email. “That means a 17 percent drop in the national stock of blood products.”
CBS attributes the drop in donations to reduced availability for potential donors.
“People in Canada are enjoying a return to pre-pandemic events and summer travel, leaving them less time to donate,” CBS said in a statement.
In addition, CBS is currently not accepting donations from gay and bisexual men, as well as certain other people in the LGBTQ2S+ community, unless they have been abstaining for three months.
Although Health Canada allowed CBS to lift its total ban in April, the national blood donor organization has yet to move to screening all donors based on higher-risk sexual behavior, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
The agency says it plans to implement a new behavior-based survey approach “no later than” September 30th.
There is also a blood shortage crisis in the US. The American Red Cross announced in January that it was facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade amid a surge in Omicron cases, resulting in “low donor turnout,” the agency said.
“While some types of medical care can wait, others can’t,” Dr. Pumpy Young, the Red Cross’ chief medical officer, said in a press release at the time.
“We are doing our best to increase the number of blood donors so that every patient can receive treatment without delay, but we cannot do this without more donors.”
According to the Red Cross Blood Service, frozen plasma has a shelf life of one year, red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days, and platelets for donation have a shelf life of five days.
CBS says there are 57,000 open appointments to be filled by the end of August across Canada.
Anyone who wants to donate blood to CBS is asked to make an appointment on their website.
“It is important to remember that the need for blood, plasma and platelets is constant,” CBS said in an email. “Cancer patients, victims of accidents and injuries, people who have had surgery, and people with blood disorders rely on blood, platelet and plasma transfusions every day.”
With files from The Canadian Press