OTTAWA -- Canadian Blood Services has set an Oct. 31 deadline for its employees and contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but there are no vaccination requirements for blood donors.

The organization says its policy applies to all staff and fee-for-service contractors. Canadian Blood Services will no longer employ those who are not fully vaccinated by the deadline without a valid exemption.

In an emailed statement to CTVNewsOttawa.ca, Canadian Blood Services said accommodations would be made for those who have legitimate human rights or medical exemptions.

"We understand that there are employees who may need to be accommodated, based on recognized medical/legitimate human rights grounds. We will balance our obligations to maintain a safe workplace and ensure the continuity of our operations, while taking every reasonable step to accommodate those who have a legitimate reason not to be vaccinated," the statement said.

Canadian Blood Services could not say Sunday what percentage of its workforce is already fully vaccinated. More information is expected in the coming days. According to CTVNews.ca data, more than 82 per cent of all eligible Canadians are considered fully vaccinated.

All volunteers with Canadian Blood Services also need to be fully vaccinated. This policy came into effect on Oct. 1. Canadian Blood Services says that while it does make room for exemptions for staff, it does not for volunteers.

"As an employer, we are required to comply with human rights legislation throughout the country. This means that employees must be free from discrimination on matters such as medical or religious reasons, should those reasons be legitimate. Because volunteers are not employees, Canadian Blood Services is not required to provide the same accommodations with respect to its relationship with volunteers," a company spokesperson said. 

Blood donors do not require COVID-19 vaccination, though Canadian Blood Services says a majority of donors are already fully vaccinated.

"Canadian Blood Services is aware from surveys (of those donors surveyed) and from seroprevalence studies that over 90% of donors are fully vaccinated. We believe this number will increase in the weeks to come," the organization said.

Anyone donating blood must still follow other COVID-19 safety protocols, including the use of personal protective equipment and physical distancing. There is no deferral period to donate blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

"Like Health Canada, other national regulators, such as the U.S. FDA, do not require a deferral from blood donation after receipt of a nonreplicating, inactivated, or mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine," the organization says on its website.

Canadian Blood Services says blood donated by individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine is not associated with a risk for COVID-19 infection and the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not transmissible by blood. There are no known or suspected harmful effects of blood from a vaccinated individual to a recipient.