The recently suggested mechanism of I 2 dissociation in the chemical oxygen-iodine laser (COIL) [K. Waichman, B. D. Barmashenko, and S. Rosenwaks, J. Appl. Phys. 106, 063108 (2009)10.1063/1.3213380; K. Waichman, B. D. Barmashenko, and S. Rosenwaks, J. Chem. Phys. 133, 084301 (2010)]10.1063/1.3480397 was largely based on the suggestion of V. N. Azyazov, S. Yu. Pichugin, and M. C. Heaven [J. Chem. Phys. 130, 104306 (2009)]10.1063/1.3081454 that the vibrational population of O 2(a) produced in the chemical generator is high enough to play an essential role in the dissociation. The results of model calculations based on this mechanism agreed very well with measurements of the small signal gain g, I 2 dissociation fraction F, and temperature T in the COIL. This mechanism is here revisited, following the recent experiments of M. V. Zagidullin [Quantum Electron. 40, 794 (2010)]10.1070/QE2010v040n09ABEH014357 where the observed low population of O 2(b, v = 1) led to the conclusion that the vibrational population of O 2(a) at the outlet of the generator is close to thermal equilibrium value. This value corresponds to a very small probability, ∼0.05, of O 2(a) energy pooling to the states O 2(X,a,b, v > 0). We show that the dissociation mechanism can reproduce the experimentally observed values of g, F, and T in the COIL only if most of the energy released in the processes of O 2(a) energy pooling and O 2(b) quenching by H 2O ends up as vibrational energy of the products, O 2(X,a,b), where the vibrational states v = 2 and 3 are significantly populated. We discuss possible reasons for the differences in the suggested vibrational population and explain how these differences can be reconciled.