Recommendations for divers after their COVID-19 vaccination

The vaccination against COVID-19 might have some side effects and you may want to consider some precautions before resuming diving after receiving the shot.

The Belgian Society for Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine (SBMHS-BVOOG) provided some recommendations which are currently being evaluated by EUBS, ECHM and DAN Europe.

Here the summary of the recommendations, for the full version, please have a look at the sources below.

  1. Get vaccinated as soon as vaccines are available to help contain and hopefully end the pandemic.
  2. After each dose of the vaccine, wait a minimum of 7 days before you dive with compressed gas or by breath-holding (Freediving).
  3. Extend this interval to 14 days
    1. if you have side effect lasting more than 48 hours,
    2. if you have personal health risk factors such as, but not limited to:
      1. excessive body weight
      2. chronic metabolic disease (incl. diabetes)
      3. smoking
      4. use medication which may increase the risk of thromboembolic incidents (incl. oral contraceptives)
    3. if you want to dive requiring special technical skills or exceed the limits of recreational diving (technical diving, deep decompression diving)
  4. Visit a general practitioner in case of any side effects of the vaccination persisting more than 48 hours.
  5. If you experience any symptoms, possibly related to diving disease, that appeared after low-risk dives in the 7-day period after your COVID-19 vaccination, it is advised that you consult with a diving medicine specialist. It might be useful to notify the event to a central diving safety organization such as DAN Europe Medical Division (see this article for a mail address). Get in contact with local scientific societies for diving medicine who may help you in that regard.
  6. Vaccinated or not, it is possible that you transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus to other people, hence continue to apply the protective measures such as
    • keep the distance,
    • wear a mask,
    • hygiene for you and your equipment

Sources/references

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