Healthy Living

If you have travel plans, here’s an update on our donation rules regarding travel including a recent change that has taken place to safeguard the blood system from Zika virus.

With the recent global outbreak of the virus, those who have travelled outside of Canada, the continental United States and Europe are temporarily ineligible to give blood for 21 days. This period ensures enough time has passed for the virus to be eliminated from a person’s bloodstream and begins the day a person returns to Canada. The waiting period also applies to cord blood and stem cell donors who have travelled to affected areas.

Similarly, if you spend time in a region affected by malaria, you will be temporarily ineligible to donate blood. Depending on the length of your stay, you may have to wait one to three years to donate again. Some popular tourist destinations, such as the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Jamaica, have regions where malaria is a risk. In 2014, Canadian Blood Services temporarily deferred 30,645 donors due to potential exposure to malaria.

So, our advice if you’re planning to travel but want to donate blood: give before you go!

It’s also a good idea to take preventive measures before you head south, like receiving a vaccine, to lower your risk of getting sick while you’re away.

While vaccines are important for helping prevent disease, if you are a blood donor and you receive a vaccine, you may not be able to donate for a certain period of time. If you’re planning to get a travel-related vaccination, consider how it may affect your eligibility to donate blood and plan your donation accordingly, either before your vaccination or after your ineligibility period has passed.

You can find a list of common vaccines and eligibility information on our website at in the “Blood” section under “Can I Donate?”.

Learn more about our eligibility criteria for blood donation