Following the adoption of the 2022 work plan by the HERA Board, HERA can now start implementing actions to strengthen preparedness and response capabilities within the EU, address vulnerabilities and strategic dependencies and contribute to reinforcing the global health emergency architecture.
Announcing the adoption of the work plan at the informal EPSCO Council in Grenoble, Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Two years into the pandemic, we know that the capacity to respond decisively to cross-border health emergencies must be at the heart of a strong European Health Union. HERA is already operational and working to ensure that medical countermeasures are available for the present, but also ensuring that the right tools are available for any future health threats. The adoption of HERA's first work plan will enable it to begin its critical mission, by becoming the EU's health security watchtower for future health threats, as well as a key player for health crisis preparedness at global level.”
As a key pillar of a strong European Health Union, HERA has set out a number of ambitious deliverables for 2022, both in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 response, and for preparedness for potential future health threats.
Prevent and prepare for future cross border health emergencies: In the “preparedness phase”, HERA will work closely with other EU and national health agencies, industry, research community, civil society and international partners to improve the EU's readiness for future health emergencies. Actions include:
- Procuring and stockpiling medical countermeasures for a series of public health threats with a budget of over €580 million;
- Releasing over €300 million to research and development of medical countermeasures and innovative technologies against emerging threats;
- Building a network of ever-warm manufacturing facilities that can be mobilised in case of emergency (EU FAB);
- Establishing a long term and large scale EU platform for clinical trials and data platforms;
- Identifying three high-impact health threats, in addition to COVID-19, by the end of spring in close collaboration with Member States in the HERA Board, EU agencies, international partners and experts.
Detect future health threats: HERA will in addition carry out threat assessments and intelligence gathering, develop models to forecast an outbreak, and map out a response plan at EU level. Actions for 2022 include:
- Putting in place a state of the art real-time health threat detection and intelligence system;
- Creating a dedicated IT platform for threat assessment and threat prioritisation.
Respond to health threats: In the context of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HERA's emergency response functions have already been activated. In the event of further cross-border public health emergencies at EU level, additional action will be taken, notably by activating emergency funding and launching mechanisms for monitoring, new targeted development, procurement and purchase of medical countermeasures and raw materials. Ongoing actions include:
- Ensuring the timely provision of COVID-19 vaccines to EU Member States, including variant-adapted vaccines if needed;
- Procurement of COVID-19 therapeutics for EU Member States;
- Scaling up national capacities for the detection and scientific assessment of variants;
- Ensuring delivery of vaccines across the world.
The European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) is a key pillar of the European Health Union and a fundamental asset to strengthen the EU's health emergency response and preparedness. HERA was established in September 2021 to replace ad hoc solutions to pandemic management and response with a permanent structure with adequate tools and resources to plan ahead the EU action in case of health emergencies. HERA will anticipate threats and potential health crises, through intelligence gathering and building the necessary response capacities. When an emergency hits, HERA should have response solutions ready ensuring the development, production and distribution of medicines, vaccines and other medical countermeasures.
The overall HERA budget is €6 billion for the period 2022-2027.
For More Information
- Publication date
- 10 February 2022
- Representation in Cyprus