COVID-19 Update

by Whitney

COVID-19 Update

April 1, 2021

Update: CIPO Statement on COVID-19

CIPO has received many inquiries related to COVID-19, most of which are related to patient medical care or provincial re-opening and vaccines. For specific medical inquiries, please contact your healthcare provider, or treating specialist. 

CIPO COVID-19 Webinars:

CIPO has hosted two webinars about PI & COVID-19 with medical co-Chairs, Dr. Stephen Betschel and Dr. Bruce Ritchie. These “Ask the Experts” sessions can be found on our website and Youtube channel. 

COVID-19 and vaccines with Dr. Gina Lacuesta and Dr. Kyla Hildebrand, moderated by Dr. Stephen Betschel. This webinar took place February 26, 2021 and gives an overview of the COVID vaccines in Canada and immunodeficiency. 

COVID-19 Vaccine:

Canada has received four different vaccines to date . The rollout of these vaccines, as well as recommendations regarding priority vaccination varies in each province. Currently, for primary immunodeficiency:

  • BC: Currently only severe primary immunodeficiency or type 1 interferon defects 
  • AB: Phase 2 (April)
  • MB: No plan to include immunodeficiencies in their rollout
  • SK: Phase 2 (currently underway)
  • ON: Phase 2 (April)
  • QC: TBD
  • PEI: Phase 2 (including primary caregivers)
  • NS: No plan to include immunodeficiencies in their rollout
  • NB: PI patients currently open to vaccination
  • NL: Phase 2 

Vaccine Hesitancy Study

CIPO has launched a COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Study to look at the PI population and how people feel about the COVID vaccine. Please take a few minutes to complete this important survey.

COVID-19 in Canada:

Cases of COVID-19 in provinces and across Canada vary by province, with some provinces beginning re-opening phases and other provinces re-opening in certain areas only. Please continue to check your regional public health for area specific information. 

For now, CIPO’s medical advisors recommend:

  • Continuing to stay home, if possible
  • Avoid large gatherings and crowded public spaces, if possible
  • Encourage social distancing and raise awareness of PI – explain to others why you are self-isolating
  • Encourage your family, friends and networks to donate blood and plasma if they can
  • Help minimize workload at the hospital by arriving for your appointments on time
  • Wash your hands and avoid touching your face


If you feel ill, or think you may have the virus:

  • Do NOT go to the hopsital or walk-in clinic (unless instructed to by your doctor OR you cannot manage your symptoms at home)
  • Self-isolate and call your doctor 
  • Use inhalers (if prescribed) and medications to managed symptoms


Currently the vaccine available in Canada has not been studied in patients with primary immunodeficiency. Patients with a primary immunodeficiency may not respond adequately to immunization. More information may become available in the future to enable more specific recommendations. 

Passive protection against COVID-19 may be provided in the future for those patients on immunoglobulin replacement. There would be no contraindication for patients with a primary immunodeficiency receiving the current COVID-19 immunization unless there are specific allergic contraindications. 

Recommendations will vary between primary immunodeficiency patients, please seek the advice of your treating specialist regarding vaccination. 

CIPO is currently advocating to ensure that PI patients are prioritized for vaccine rollout. 

Plasma Supply:

As we have notified members in a letter dated February 12th, there is a supply issue regarding IVIG and therefore some patients will be forced to switch brands of product and vial sizes. This switch will lead to longer infusion times. 


There have been many questions about how long it will take before COVID-19 antibodies enter the plasma products. This is unknown at this point. 

To learn more about antibodies and PI patients, listen to our “Ask the Experts 2” podcast

Plasma Products:

The PPTA has issued a statement that there is no risk of transmission of COVID-19 into plasma products. 


CIPO will continue to update on this virus as necessary. 

For more information, please see the following:

COVID-19 map –

Canadian Blood Services 



About the Author