Crisis preparedness and response

Influenza pandemic preparedness

An influenza pandemic can occur whenever a new flu virus appears against which humans have no immunity. Pandemics can be severe and require a high level of preparedness.

Influenza pandemic preparedness is a priority in the EU's network for communicable diseases , through which the Commission helps EU countries to better coordinate their prevention and control measures for pandemic influenza. 

Preparedness plans

Specific plans are in place at both EU and national level. The EU's preparedness plan identifies roles and actions for players at EU and national level for each stage of a pandemic. The plan is continuously kept under review to incorporate the latest scientific developments and emerging issues.

Assessment of national preparedness

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in collaboration with the Commission and the WHO, has assessed the national pandemic preparedness plans. See the technical report for details.

Exchange of best practices

A number of conferences have been held with all 27 EU countries and the 53 countries of the WHO European region to identify essential elements of pandemic planning, exchange best practice and identify gaps and ways forward.


Only a few EU countries have facilities to produce vaccines, so in the event of a pandemic, vaccine shortage is highly likely. The Health Security Committee (HSC) has endorsed a strategy to ensure that adequate supplies of influenza vaccine can be provided as fast as possible in the event of a pandemic.

Commission's role in the event of a pandemic

In the event of an influenza pandemic, the Commission takes the lead in EU coordination through the early warning and response system (EWRS) , which requires the national authorities to notify each other of measures taken or intended. The Commission is also in permanent contact with key partners such as ECDC, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the WHO and the Global Health and Security Initiative (GHSI).

Once WHO has declared a pandemic, the Commission may consider a simplified fast-track procedure for granting marketing authorisation for pandemic influenza vaccines.