| Influenza pandemic preparedness planning at EU level||
On 28 November 2005 the Commission adopted an EU
planning to address threats and emergencies affecting or likely to
affect public health in more than one EU country. The plan provides a
structure to which other elements can be added to address different types
of health threat, whether they are foreseen (such as pandemic influenza) or
unforeseen (e.g. a SARS-type epidemic), involve biological, chemical,
physical or radionuclear agents, or are caused by deliberate acts, accidents or natural events.
More on EU generic preparedness planning
preparedness planning : a
priority for the European
Pandemic influenza, which is life-threatening, requires a high level of preparedness,
so specific preparedness plans are put in place both at national and at EU level.
Commission has identified influenza as a priority area within the
Community network for communicable diseases, established by
according to which
the Commission must help EU countries improve the coordination of prevention and control measures for
certain communicable diseases at EU level, in accordance with agreed
The WHO and the Commission are empowered to
recognize a pandemic
. The Commission can recognize a pandemic independently of the WHO, acting under
the decision establishing the network for communicable diseases. In such a case a
variation to the terms of a marketing authorisation for human influenza vaccines
may be temporarily considered,
as laid down in Commission
These regulations allow for a simplified authorisation procedure, and faster marketing authorisations
for pandemic influenza vaccines. See also the European Agency for the evaluation of medicinal products
(EMEA) guideline on
submitting marketing authorisation applications.
preparedness planning at
are being drafted or are already in place in all EU countries.
Vaccination is one of the most challenging responses, but in the
event of a pandemic, a vaccine shortage is highly likely and very few EU countries have
facilities to produce vaccines. Vaccine availability and access to anti-viral drugs is
still determined at national level and access is not coordinated in the EU. However, the
Commission has been working with the Health Security Committee and European vaccine
manufacturers to ensure that an adequate supply of influenza vaccines in the EU can be
provided in the shortest possible time in the event of a pandemic. The HSC endorsed a
a partnership between the public sector and manufacturers on vaccine development and
availability as part of a wider preparedness strategy. A similar approach is being taken
The Commission, in collaboration with the WHO and the ECDC, is also
organising visits to EU countries to assess and discuss national pandemic
preparedness plans. The round of visits should be completed by June 2007.
Events organised to improve
the EU state of
27 November 2001 - the
Commission organised a
in Brussels which
helped identify the
essential elements of pandemic
planning at EU level.
March 2004 - the Commission adopted the Community Influenza Pandemic
Preparedness Planning. The constitution of a Public Health Preparedness and
Response Planning Group, which is competent to advise the Commission on actions
to be taken in the event of an imminent pandemic threat, is an important step
forward in the implementation of the Community planning.
28 November 2005 -
the Commission adopted a
on influenza pandemic
to update the planning taking account of
by the WHO and the
establishment of the
European Centre for Disease
Prevention and Control
2-3 March 2005 - the
Commission and the WHO
with representatives from the 52 countries of the WHO European Region
to discuss national preparedness plans for influenza pandemics. The meeting
helped to determine the stage of pandemic planning in Europe, to exchange best practice
and to discuss the main components of national planning.
24-26 October 2005 -
in Copenhagen with the objective to continue to improve understanding
of the planning for and management of a possible future influenza pandemic.
15-17 May 2006 -
January and June 2006 -
the European Commission participated in two meetings gathering worldwide governments' and
international organizations' representatives. These meetings took place in Beijing and
and were intended to organise the help to third countries affected by avian influenza in
order to contain, control and combat the avian influenza virus at source.
25-27 September 2007 -
The Commission, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) jointly organised the
fourth workshop on pandemic influenza. After the previous meetings in Copenhagen
and Uppsala, Luxembourg hosted a packed assembly bringing together representatives not just from the 27 EU countries but
from all 53 countries covered by the WHO's Office for Europe. Internationally reputed experts were invited to present the
latest developments in scientific research on flu, bird flu and flu pandemics.
The workshop provided an opportunity for a very profitable exchange of experience between
countries at the sessions devoted to good practice and the two exercises on communication and
the preparation of hospitals. Participants expressed their satisfaction at the end of the