NZBS asks fit, healthy, eligible donors to book an appointment to donate

14 March 2020


New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) is asking eligible, fit and healthy New Zealander’s to book an appointment to donate blood. The Service has seen up to a 30%* increase in the number of cancellations and ‘no shows’ in the past week which is possibly because of COVID-19 concerns amongst donors.

“We are asking all eligible healthy blood donors to book an appointment, and keep commitments to donate blood,” said Asuka Burge, National Manager Marketing and Communications, New Zealand Blood Service.

“NZBS needs to collect 3,500 donations every week to keep up with demand across the country, and we are seeing an increasing number of cancellations and empty chairs in our donor centres.

“Our donor centres are safe places to visit, and we are taking all necessary steps to ensure this stays that way.”

NZBS has strict blood donor screening measures in place, which include travel deferrals, to ensure individuals who are unwell, or have recently travelled to high-risk countries are deferred from donating.

“Absolutely, if a donor is feeling unwell, they should reschedule or cancel their appointment, but please let us know. Every no-show or cancelled appointment impacts the blood supply and the availability of blood to treat patients in hospitals. If we know someone is not coming, we can try to fill their appointment space,” continues Asuka.

“Unlike toilet paper, blood cannot be stockpiled. Whole blood has a shelf life of just 35 days, which means we must ensure we can continue to meet demand on a weekly basis. Our current concern is that without a steady number of donations, the blood supply may run into critical levels. This is why we need fit, healthy, eligible Kiwis to book appointments and continue to donate.”

To book an appointment to donate visit or call 0800 448 325.

*Compared to the same week in 2019


Note to editors

  • NZBS has a dedicated working group of experts that includes medical staff and donor care teams to closely monitoring global developments in relation to COVID-19 and advising on any specific actions required.
  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmissible by blood transfusion.
  • Restrictions are in place for people returning from travel from areas affected by COVID-19, this is reviewed daily to determine whether new country-based travel deferrals are required. Additional measures have been put in place for travellers returning from China, Iran, Japan, Thailand, Italy, Republic of Korea and Singapore. NZBS’s online travel tool can help people find out if they can donate,
  • A four-week deferral has been introduced for any donors who have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. This means that if a donor has been in contact with someone who has had, or is suspected to have had COVID-19, they will be unable to donate for 28 days from last date of contact with this person.
  • The deferral does not include being in contact with someone with a travel related quarantine with no symptoms, but does include being in contact with someone with symptoms or who is being tested for symptoms.
  • Any person who has had COVID-19 must wait four weeks after they are free from all symptoms before they can give blood.

About NZBS:
New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) is a not-for-profit Crown entity responsible for the collection, processing, testing and storage and distribution of all blood and blood products in New Zealand.

NZBS relies on voluntary and non-remunerated blood donations from individuals around the country in order to provide a constant supply of precious blood and blood products used by health services to save thousands of lives.

  • Every day, 80 New Zealanders need blood or blood products.
  • There is no alternative for patients in need of blood or blood products – blood donors save lives.
  • Currently less than 4% of eligible Kiwis are registered to donate.

For more information please contact:
Francesca Chan, New Zealand Blood Service, 09 523 5688, 027 280 3922

Sandy Trigg, Network Communication, 021 231 9406

Released on behalf of New Zealand Blood Service by Network Communication

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