Speaking at the Word Health Summit on 24 October, President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that pandemic preparedness was now at the centre of the EU's action, and that an unprecedented funding of EUR 50 billion euro over seven years was proposed for a health preparedness mission.
“Our Union, our Member States, and of course the private sector have a role to play and a contribution to make. Europe stands ready to contribute and invest in pandemic preparedness - at home and worldwide,” she stressed.
She recalled the measures taken since the last World Health Summit, particularly focusing on the vaccination campaigns as well as the creation of HERA - a new Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority.
“More than 75% of adults in the EU are fully vaccinated. We have delivered more than 850 million doses to European citizens. And in parallel we have shipped more than 1 billion doses to the rest of the world,” she said.
Acting promptly on the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU created HERA, with a task to better prepare for health emergencies, to detect them promptly, and to respond collectively.
“HERA's task is to identify threats early on and make sure that we have the necessary medical countermeasures available,” von der Leyen explained, adding that HERA will support the development of state-of-the-art diagnostics and work on new flexible technologies for new vaccines.
She also underlined that HERA's ‘horizon would be wider than the Union', and that it would join forces with its international peers.