Canadian Blood Services to discontinue local donation clinics

By Mike Baker

Canadian Blood Services will be hosting one final blood donation clinic in Haliburton next month before pulling out of the community for good.

The news was delivered last week by Jennifer Mathieu, territory manager for donor relations and collections, who indicated it had become too costly for Canadian Blood Services to operate clinics in the Highlands.

“Our decisions about where we hold these blood donation events are constantly being assessed on a national basis, and they’re based on several factors – the number of units we collect, the cost of labour and transportation… To give an example, trucks come from Brampton to go to Haliburton [for the clinics], then once the units are given by donors, another truck comes to pick up the units and take them back to Brampton, so with the distance… it’s quite costly,” Mathieu said. “We need to assess all of these different factors when we look at where and when we have events to ensure we have an efficient blood system.”

The final clinic will take place on July 5 at the Haliburton Legion. The event is fully booked, with 79 individuals already registered to give blood.

There have been many questions asked by local residents on social media in recent weeks, who wondered if those who had received a COVID-19 vaccination shot would be eligible to give blood. Mathieu sought to clear up any confusion.

“There is absolutely no wait time after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination to donate blood. It’s 100 per cent safe for you to do so, as well it’s 100 per cent safe for the person receiving your donation,” Mathieu said.

While Canadian Blood Services is constantly in need of every type of blood, Mathieu notes O-negative is particularly critical given that it’s a universal blood type and can be administered to anyone.

Mathieu says the country’s blood inventory is stable at present, thanks to the many people, including the 79 registered to do so next month in Haliburton, who continue to donate their blood.

“Something that people may not realize is every 60 seconds in Canada someone needs a blood transfusion,” Mathieu noted. “Pandemic or not, there’s people fighting various diseases and they still need blood each and every day, so the need for blood remains constant.”

With Canadian Blood Services’ departure from the community, the closest place Haliburton residents will be able to give blood moving forward is Lindsay or Peterborough.