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The importance of COVID-19 Vaccination to the Offshore Diving Community

IMCA’s Diving Manager, Bryan McGlinchy, shares an update from DMAC.

COVID-19 presents serious risks for all marine crew, but there are a number of reasons why the SARS-CoV-2 virus is of special concern to the diving industry. The Diving Medical Advisory Committee (DMAC) has just released a Position Statement entitled, COVID-19 Vaccination and the Offshore Energy Diving Community.  The statement sets out the particular risks to their health and careers that divers face from COVID-19.  It also stresses the vital role that COVID-19 vaccination currently plays in reducing and controlling those risks.

In the digital age it can be difficult to find objective, well-researched, and reliable information on important subjects.  This is why IMCA values the diving medical expertise and input of DMAC so much.  The committee is made up of doctors intimately involved in the practice of diving medicine and its guidance is always based on the latest medical research and on empirical evidence. DMAC has no other agenda than to provide impartial advice about medical aspects of commercial diving for the benefit of offshore divers. Members of the committee receive no payment for their time or contributions to committee proceedings – the work of the committee is entirely voluntary. 

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic IMCA and DMAC have worked closely together to produce high-quality guidance which, it would appear, has so far played an important part in keeping divers and DSV crews safe.  However, there have recently been some disturbing reports of COVID-19 outbreaks on IMCA Member vessels in various parts of the world, and this is one of the reasons DMAC has felt it necessary to produce its latest Position Statement. 

IMCA fully supports DMAC’s position that the known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, far outweigh the potential risks of having an extremely rare serious adverse reaction to vaccination.

Like DMAC, IMCA is concerned that any non-vaccinated person joining a group of vaccinated people in a working environment where preventive measures like social distancing cannot be maintained, represents a significant increase in risk.

The Association therefore joins with DMAC in strongly recommending that offshore divers and diving personnel follow national and World Health Organisation recommendations for primary vaccinations and booster doses. 

For full details please read the DMAC’s Position Statement COVID-19 Vaccination and the Offshore Energy Diving Community which is available on the DMAC website here: https://www.dmac-diving.org/guidance/.

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