IOMA Statement on Medical Oxygen Availability
January 27, 2021
Medical oxygen is an essential part of patient care during the COVID-19 global pandemic, and the medical gas industry is working diligently to safely and reliably supply health care systems around the world. IOMA member companies are certainly aware of and actively addressing surges in medical oxygen use in COVID-19 hotspots. Each member is committed to deploy all available resources to respond to the increased demand for medical oxygen and to proactively communicate with and work with health care providers, national/local health authorities and regulators as we fight this pandemic together. Healthcare is a top priority for IOMA member companies.
There are several aspects to oxygen supply which are being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. These include hospital supply system capacities, the availability of cylinders and other equipment needed to store and transport medical oxygen, and medical oxygen production and distribution capacities. The rapidly changing and unprecedented demand for medical oxygen in areas where COVID-19 is surging is an additional factor.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, IOMA member companies have taken significant measures such as sourcing additional medical gas cylinders, converting cylinders and containers to medical oxygen use, where possible increasing production and distribution capacity, and when necessary prioritizing allocation of oxygen to medical use to meet growing needs in the countries where they operate. These companies continue to monitor and respond to the rapidly changing situation. IOMA member companies are using their considerable resources to meet the medical oxygen needs of the communities where they operate.
It is critical for healthcare facilities to work with their suppliers and regulators to help them respond to their growing needs and configure appropriate safe and sustainable use, on site storage, and delivery capacity.
In addition, some of the COVID-19 vaccines require storage and transportation at extremely low temperatures. Dry Ice (solid carbon dioxide) is needed to reach and maintain those temperatures. IOMA members indicate that our sector has the capacity to absorb the anticipated increase in dry ice demand.
The medical oxygen supply chain reliability is a regional and national challenge and can differ significantly country by country or State by State. In addition, the situation is very fluid, and can change within few days. Many of our regional and national gas associations have developed information sheets and toolkits to support the work of their members and their communication with healthcare officials and regulators. This information and news updates specific to their regions are publicly available on their websites.
Compressed Gas Association (CGA) - U.S. and Canada : www.cganet.com
European Industrial Gases Associations (EIGA) : www.eiga.eu
Southern Africa Compressed Gas Association (SACGA) : www.sacga.za.orgHome