Health Security Committee discusses vaccination issues and broader public health measures for influenza A (H1N1)v

The European Commission has chaired a regular audioconference of the EU Health Security Committee and the national contact points for communicable disease network on influenza A (H1N1)v. The items on the agenda were vaccination issues and broader public health measures for influenza A (H1N1)v. EU Member States and relevant Commission services and EU scientific agencies participated in the meeting.

On vaccination, the Commission submitted for discussion a draft statement of the EU Health Security Committee (HSC) on risk and priority groups for vaccination. On broader public health measures, the Commission presented two draft HSC statements on school closures and travel advice which were discussed by the HSC.

The HSC agreed that the three draft statements are useful, and on the basis of the discussion and comments made by Member States, the draft statements will be amended accordingly and presented to HSC for agreement next week. Subject to the agreement of the HSC, the statements will be made available to the public. In addition, possible arrangements for EU nationals travelling for the Hadj were discussed at the request of the representative of the United Kingdom.

At the next meeting on 14 August the Commission will outline for discussion the key issues to be addressed in the upcoming Commission Communication on influenza A (H1N1)v. There will also be a discussion on issues related to the regulatory approval of vaccines.

The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention continues issueing reports detailing the progress of the global epidemic of influenza A. According to the last of its documents, 33,378 European citizens are affected by the N1H1 virus. United Kingdom and Germany, with 12.470 and 9.770 cases respectively, are the countries with more infected people.

The other side of the coin is Latvia where only 19 cases have been confirmed since the beginning of the pandemic, and Lithuania, with 12 positive. At least 53 Europeans have died because of Influenza A. In just over two weeks, 13.000 new cases have been confirmed in all Europe.