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US and EU to cooperate on pandemic preparedness


Agreement will include research collaboration and aims to reduce duplication of effort

The European Commission and the US government have signed an agreement to strengthen collaboration between the US and the EU on preparedness and response to public health threats, in part as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Announcing the agreement on 9 June, the Commission said it would include working together on research and innovation, and that it would reduce duplication of effort while ensuring synergies in response efforts. The collaboration will be led by the new EU Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

“Today’s first transatlantic agreement on cooperation in the area of health is an important step in our already close working relationship with the US to counter Covid-19,” said EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides. “As the pandemic has shown us, joining forces will enable us to better deal with future health crises and better protect citizens across Europe and globally.”

The agreement lays the foundation for the US and the EU to more easily share global surveillance data on emerging health threats, coordinate on R&D for medical countermeasures, share best practices for administering vaccines, support other countries on preparedness and response to public health threats, and tackle the spread of misinformation about health threats. The countries will select at least one pressing public health threat each year to collaborate on.

Shared goals

“Strengthening our collaboration with the European Commission through this formal arrangement signifies the importance the US places on working together toward our shared pandemic preparedness and response goals,” said US health secretary Xavier Becerra. He noted that the arrangement would give the US an opportunity to help countries outside the EU build up their capacity to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats.

The US and the EU have been working to improve administrative collaboration on global health threats as part of the US-EU Agenda for Beating the Global Pandemic, Vaccinating the World, Saving Lives Now and Building Back Better Health Security. The agenda was published in September 2021 to facilitate global vaccination against Covid-19, among other objectives.