Calgary mumps inoculations strain city blood supply
The mumps vaccination campaign in Calgary is putting a strain on the city's blood bank supply because more than 23,000 people who received the shot are not allowed to donate blood.
A mumps outbreak prompted a provincewide vaccination campaign that began last month on post-secondary campuses and expanded to non-students between the ages of 17 and 26 Monday.
However, a problem has occurred because blood banks in southern Alberta rely on students for almost 30 per cent of their donations but Canadian Blood Services requires people to wait 12 weeks after a mumps shot before they can give blood again.
"We've had recent clinics at the University of Calgary and other post-secondary institutions where we've definitely seen the numbers almost halved compared to what we would normally collect from those particular clinics," said Doris Kaufmann, spokeswoman for Canadian Blood Services.
About 23,000 staff and students in Calgary have been vaccinated and are currently ineligible to donate blood.
Mumps is spread through saliva, and causes fever, swelling and pain in the parotid glands, located in front of the ears and below the cheekbones. In rare cases, it can lead to brain inflammation.
Calgary has at least 57 confirmed cases of the mumps so far this year, compared to six last year. The mumps outbreak started in post-secondary schools in Lethbridge in October.
The Calgary Health Region opened the second phase of its mumps vaccination clinics to people between 17 and 26 who are not attending colleges or universities Monday.
Clinics are now running at the Southwood United Church in the southwest and the McClure United Church in the northeast and will expand to the Currie Barracks later this week.
Dr. Judy MacDonald, the CHR's deputy medical officer of health, said people older than 26 and born in Canada should have a natural immunity to the mumps, while those under 17 should have already received two shots, which would fully immunize them from the virus.