The NBA continues to closely monitor evolving issues relating to COVID-19. Australia’s blood supply remains safe and secure.
The NBA, together with key suppliers, continues to closely monitor inventory levels of blood and blood related products and issues concerning the delivery of blood related services. There continues to be no disruption to the overall supply of blood and blood related products at this time. Fresh blood inventories are generally in an equal or stronger position than at the equivalent point in 2019, reflecting good continuing supply from donors and lower demand. The NBA remains in close contact with the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (Lifeblood) and with Australia’s contracted commercial suppliers of blood products.
Lifeblood issued a media release on 18 August 2020, calling for people to donate whole blood and plasma over a two week period. The callout as part of Lifeblood’s proactive approach to managing collections and securing future donor appointments, and there is no immediate concern about the national blood and plasma inventory levels.
The contracts that are in place between the NBA and commercial suppliers include arrangements to ensure adequate supplies of local and imported blood products. The NBA is liaising continuously with product suppliers and is maintaining a close watch on the imported Immunoglobulin products supply should pressures arise because of COVID-19. Appropriate ordering of all blood products and dispensing of Immunoglobulin products are essential to ensure product is available to all patients who need it. It is not appropriate to increase stock levels, as this could put strain on supply.
The National Blood Supply Contingency Plan has not been activated, as relevant trigger inventory points within the Plan have not been reached.
On 7 May 2020, Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced that that CSL Behring in Melbourne will start production of a potentially lifesaving plasma-derived treatment for people with COVID-19. The COVID-19 Immunoglobulin product for use in clinical trials, will be made from convalescent plasma collected by Lifeblood from donors who have recovered from COVID-19. Please refer to Minister Hunt’s media release and doorstop interview for more information.
Lifeblood is also collecting convalescent plasma to supply to a number of clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of convalescent plasma as a direct treatment in patients with COVID-19. For further information, please refer to Lifeblood’s role.
Donating blood is an essential continuing activity, and is explicitly supported by governments as an exemption to restrictions on movement and travel. These restrictions do not prevent you from going to a Lifeblood donor centre and continuing to donate blood, or becoming a new donor. If you are feeling healthy and well and meet donor eligibility criteria please consider donating. Lifeblood has introduced non-contact temperature testing of all potential donors presenting at donor centres, as an additional safety measure. Lifeblood donor centres have social distancing arrangements between donors in place and this critically important activity must continue to ensure Australia’s lifeblood keeps flowing. To book a donation, visit lifeblood.com.au or call 13 14 95, or download the Donate Blood app.
The NBA, government jurisdictions, Lifeblood and commercial suppliers continue to work closely together to ensure the continuing safe and secure supply of blood and blood related products and services. The Commonwealth Department of Health website has up to date information on issues relating to COVID-19. The Lifeblood website also has information about blood and plasma donations, as well as Lifeblood’s response to the current situation.