COVID-19: Update on organ donation and transplantation services

National COVID-19 Impact Data Dashboard 

A national organ donation and transplantation COVID-19 impact dashboard was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended to help the community better understand, in near real time, the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had, either directly or indirectly on organ donation and transplantation in Canada and by extension, what impact these changes have had on potential donors and transplant candidates. 


COVID-19 Open Access Publications – Donation and Transplantation Focus

The rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation is leading to vast amounts of information being generated and shared. To avoid information overload and duplication of efforts, the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program,  Canadian Blood Services, and the Canadian Society of Transplantation in collaboration with the Vincent Larivière team from the Canada Research Chair at the Université de Montréal are developing a systematic, coordinated approach to search, retrieve, synthesize and store emerging information related to COVID-19 implications for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. This effort aims to create an repository for COVID-19 relevant organ and tissue donation and transplantation references, inform evidence-based emergency response recommendations, and highlight knowledge gaps that warrant investigation.

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COVID-19 and Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation: Review of International Recommendations

Canadian Blood Services, the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program,  and the Canadian Society of Transplantation have partnered to: 1) generate evidence-based, expert informed rapid response recommendations that are updated as evidence evolves; and 2) identify knowledge gaps and research opportunities. As part of this work, we have created a website that provides a review of publicly available recommendations related to COVID-19 and organ donation and transplantation.

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Webinar Series: Psychological First Aid, Grief and Loss, and Moral Distress in response to COVID-19

Register for upcoming webinars or access recordings here


Consensus guidance for organ donation and transplantation services during COVID-19 pandemic

On March 12, a meeting of the Organ Donation and Transplantation Expert Advisory Committee (ODTEAC) brought together donation and transplantation leaders from across the country. The aim of the meeting was to develop consensus guidance that can be used by provincial organ donation organizations and regional transplant and donation programs to guide the administration of organ and tissue donation and transplantation services in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is understood that each organization, program and jurisdiction will develop their own policies.

Consensus guidance for organ donation and transplantation services during COVID-19 pandemic (last updated May 28, 2020 currently under review)


Consensus guidance for tissue donation and transplantation during the COVID-19 pandemic

On March 20, a teleconference meeting of the Canadian Eye and Tissue Donation Community was held, bringing together eye and tissue donation and bank leaders from across the country.  The aim of the meeting was to share information and develop a consensus which can be used by provincial donation organizations, eye and tissue banks to guide the administration of eye and tissue donation and bank services considering the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consensus guidance for eye and tissue donation and transplantation services during COVID-19 pandemic (updated May 19, 2020)  


COVID-19 impact on Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program

On March 16, 2020, the KPD program was put on-hold to minimize the possibility of exposing living donors, transplant candidates, and recipients to COVID-19. On May 12, Canadian Blood Services’ Kidney Transplant Advisory Committee, Living Donation Advisory Committee, and OTDT leadership agreed to restart the Kidney Paired Donation Program in three phases: 

  • Phase 1: To resolve all KPD program donation and transplantation chains affected by program suspension on March 16, 2020. The goal is to complete or collapse all affected chains by August 2020.
  • Phase 2: Beginning June 2020, KPD match runs will take place every month. Programs will be encouraged to ship and receive kidneys, instead of asking donors to travel, with some local travel by donors taking place at the discretion of programs.
  • Phase 3: By Fall 2020, it is expected that most provincial programs will have returned to normal operations. The KPD team will work with provincial programs to identify opportunities for innovation and adapt to the new environment.

Programs can contact kpd@blood.ca for more information. 

COVID-19 impact on Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) and Highly Sensitized Patient (HSP) Programs (March 13, 2020)


Statement from the Canadian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Community 

COVID-19: Statement from the Canadian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Community (April 1, 2020)


Surveillance of National Organ Transplant Recipients Affected by COVID-19 (SNO-TRAC)

Through this effort, we hope to provide the Canadian transplant community with timely information on the epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical features, management, and prognosis of transplant recipients affected by COVID-19. We also believe that the data will inform better approaches to prevention, treatment, and health policy. It will also identify knowledge gaps that can be the focus of future research.

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Additional information

International sites and resources