Canadian Blood Services to open plasma donation site in Kelowna this summer

·2 min read
Plasma is the yellowish liquid component of blood. It is rich in proteins and antibodies and is often used to manufacture immune globulin and other medications that help patients fight diseases and injuries more effectively.  (Hiep Vu - image credit)
Plasma is the yellowish liquid component of blood. It is rich in proteins and antibodies and is often used to manufacture immune globulin and other medications that help patients fight diseases and injuries more effectively. (Hiep Vu - image credit)

Canadian Blood Services is set to open a dedicated plasma donor centre in Kelowna in July, the first of its kind in British Columbia.

The plasma-only donation site in the central Okanagan city will operate at the Orchard Park Shopping Centre on Harvey Avenue, which is only one block away from the organization's existing blood donor centre on Dilworth Drive.

Canadian Blood Services runs five clinics across B.C. All of them currently collect blood only, except the Oak Street location in Vancouver, which accepts platelet donations as well.

Plasma is the yellowish liquid component of blood. It is rich in proteins and antibodies and is often used to manufacture immune globulin and other medications that help patients fight diseases and injuries more effectively.

Canadian Blood Services opened two other plasma-only collection clinics in Sudbury, Ont. and in Lethbridge, Alta. last year.

These three cities were chosen for building plasma-only donation sites because they scored highly on criteria such as the size of their volunteer blood donor base, the organization said.

"Our community has been so incredible in supporting whole blood donations historically," Janna Pantella, business development manager with Canadian Blood Services in Kelowna, told CBC's Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

Eligibility requirements for blood and plasma donors are the same, Pantella said. Donors must be at least 17 years old, healthy and weigh no less than 50 kilograms.

However, plasma donors don't have to wait for eight to 16 weeks to make their next donation, like blood donors do.

"Your body regenerates your plasma within about 48 hours of a donation, and that means that men are eligible to donate every seven days and women can donate every 14 days," Pantella said.

Kelowna health and safety advisor Richard Gerow has donated blood since 1979, and donated plasma at Canadian Blood Services' clinic in Calgary. He says Canada needs more plasma donors.

"As a country, we actually only get about 13 per cent of the plasma [needed for manufacturing immune globulin]," he said.

"We need to bring [plasma] in from other countries, so we [should] have the ability to be able to stock [plasma] ourselves."

Pantella says Kelowna donors can enjoy local sweet treats after donating at the new clinic.

"We're adding some different elements from a donor experience perspective, like supporting local bakeries and having local goods offered to our donors as their treats after their donation," she said.

"We'll see a different variety of delectable delights from our local community bakeries [in the new clinic]."

Canadian Blood Services will close its Dilworth Drive clinic at the end of this month.

Blood donors from Kelowna can visit mobile donation sites in neighbouring municipalities across the Okanagan.

Tap the link below to hear Janna Pantella's interview on Daybreak South: