Influenza Steering Group – Terms of Reference

Background

The EU Council adopted in 2009 the EU Council Recommendation on seasonal influenza vaccination (2009/1019/EU) calling on EU Member States and EEA countries to take action to mitigate the impact of seasonal influenza through national, regional or local action plans or policies and by improving seasonal influenza vaccination coverage, with the aim of reaching a vaccination coverage rate of 75% for ‘older age groups’ by the 2014-2015 winter season.

The Recommendation further proposes that the target be extended, if possible, to the risk group of people with chronic conditions (e.g. chronic respiratory diseases, chronic cardiovascular diseases, chronic metabolic diseases, deficient immunity, etc.) and to ‘other risk groups’ (e.g. pregnant women and young children). Member States are also encouraged to improve vaccination coverage among healthcare workers. In addition, vaccination has become a priority in the EU agenda and the European Commission launched an EU Joint Action on Vaccination. This initiative will represent a unique opportunity to address common challenges faced by EU member states as highlighted in the Council Conclusions on vaccinations as an effective tool in public health (December 2014) and will provide momentum to drive sustainable vaccine policies across Europe.

However, despite the 2009 Council Recommendation on seasonal influenza, there is a sub-optimal level of influenza vaccination coverage across Europe with 15-70,000 people dying each year due to influenza. The need for a coordinated approach across Europe led Vaccines Europe to support the setting up of a Steering Group composed of different stakeholders, independently coordinated by Hanover consultancy who will act as the Secretariat of the Steering Group.