Stats Canada is out for blood.
The national statistics agency has begun mailing out COVID-19 Antibody and Health Surveys, which include a request for a blood sample, to residents across the country, including B.C.
White Rock resident Evan Monk is among those who’ve received one, and shared with Peace Arch News the survey and antibody kit that arrived last week in the mail.
While he has not yet completed the survey, he said he plans to do so as he considers it his civic duty.
“Weird, I don’t remember ordering anything online,” Monk said of his initial reaction to receiving the survey in the mail.
Participants were selected at random. The purpose of the test is to estimate how many Canadians have tested positive for antibodies even if they have never shown symptoms of COVID-19. The test also serves as a way to better understand the social distancing behaviours of Canadians as well as their general health during the pandemic.
“AS COVID-19 continues to disrupt daily life, we must manage its impacts and take steps to ensure Canadians can access future treatments and vaccines. To do this, it is important that we learn as much as possible about the virus, how it affects overall health, how it spreads, and whether we are developing antibodies against it,” Statistics Canada stated in literature that arrived with the kit.
The survey comes in two parts. The first part is an online questionnaire and the second is an at-home finger-prick blood test, which the participant then mails to a lab, where it will be examined for the presence of antibodies.
The test asks participants to mail their blood sample to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Manitoba.
After the blood is processed, participants are to be informed of the result.
Tuesday, Statistics Canada media relations officer Anna Maiorino told PAN via email that, so far, 48,000 Canadians have been randomly selected to participate in the survey.
She said 22,000 packages were sent out Jan. 4, with an equal number going out at the end of the month. In B.C., 3,786 people were selected for the survey.
The survey is done in partnership with the Canadian Immunity Task Force and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
”Participants are asked to complete the electronic questionnaire for which they receive a link in their letter. They are also asked to complete the dried blood spot test. Answers to the electronic questionnaire will be useful even if a participant does not give blood. However, the questionnaire answers alone will not help us in answering the main purpose of the survey, which is to determine the prevalence of Canadians that have antibodies to COVID-19. A blood sample is necessary to determine that,” Maiorino wrote.
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