SUDBURY -- Canadian Blood Services has opened a plasma donation centre here in Greater Sudbury, the first of three plasma collection sites to be built in Canada.

Officials with Canadian Blood Services said in Canada, the need for plasma is four times greater than the available supply.

“We collect currently 13.5 per cent of the plasma required for Canadian patients,” said Teri-Mai Armstrong, business development manager for plasma operations with the Canadian Blood Services. "The other 87 per cent right now we purchase from the United States … So, it’s very important for us to be more self sustainable. The collection piece is really large and we’re really counting on Sudburians to come out and feed that need and get us the collections we need to meet the targets for Canadians.”

Armstrong said plasma collection is a lot like whole blood collection, only the rest of the blood is returned to the donor.

“You sit down, you’d have the needle in your arm you see the blood coming out of your vein, but we put it into a single-use bowl, it’s called centrifuge and what happens is the bowl spins so quickly," said Armstrong. "It’s able to separate the plasma from the rest of the whole blood components … We collect only the plasma and the rest of the blood is returned to you while you’re sitting there doing your blood donation.”

Can donate much more often

Unlike whole blood collection, donors are able to give plasma much more frequently. Men are able to donate every week, and women are able to give every two weeks.

One individual who donated Tuesday morning said he has been donating blood for more than 25 years.

“The reason for is that I have had family members that have needed blood," said William Rannelli. "The nice thing about it is that you can give more often. I like the idea of giving plasma for the reason that it goes to babies and patients that need plasma so it’s a thing that I enjoy doing.”

Construction of the new site was delayed because of COVID-19, so for now, the plasma centre will be set up on Barrydowne Road until Dec. 1. Then it will move to its permanent location on 900 Lasalle Blvd. It’s open to family and friends right now, and opens to the public Sept. 8.

Hours of operation:

Tuesday - Friday: 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

People interested in donating can book an appointment online.