IOGP, IPIECA Get Behind COVD-19 Shots
The groups have issued a joint position statement on the usage of vaccines in the workplace, recommending that oil and gas companies optimize access to the vaccines for workers.
The Joint Health Committee of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) and IPIECA has followed the development, rollout, and real-world efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines since they became available in late 2020. Ten months later, the committee says it is confident that vaccines provide one of the most effective tools to mitigate the spread and consequences of COVID-19. Consequently, the committee’s position is that, as part of managing COVID-19 risk to as low as reasonably practicable, a company’s goal should be to optimize access to vaccines for workers in the oil and gas industry in line with ethical, regulatory, and legal considerations and constraints, taking due account of equitable distribution of vaccines.
The position statement was designed to help companies understand vaccine efficacy and provides guidance for company policy development aimed at achieving high rates of vaccination among staff.
In parallel with vaccinations, the committee suggests that companies should continue to use public health measures such as mask wearing, distancing, and maintaining hygiene in many circumstances, along with screening testing and quarantine regimes where applicable. These nonvaccine measures will remain critical risk mitigation barriers until COVID-19 prevalence rates and cases of serious illness are low enough to ease these restrictions.
It is becoming clear that COVID-19 will become an endemic disease in society, a state where the disease is not eradicated entirely but instead is managed to a point that it no longer causes the current severe health impacts and societal disruption. This normalization to a manageable endemic state will become possible once health systems’ capacity and virus spread have stabilized enough to allow economies and societies to reopen. The committee, therefore, says that it is in companies’ best interest to support efforts to achieve this more stable state, including the rollout of vaccines to those groups who need it the most, even if this is not company staff at first.