European Parliament resolution on the strategy against an influenza pandemic

The European Parliament,

  • Having regard to Article 152 of the Treaty,
  • Having regard to Oral Question O-0089/2005 by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety pursuant to Rule 108 of its Rules of Procedure,
  • Having regard to the statement by the Commission,
  • Having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. Recognizing that the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning of a potential influenza pandemic in the near future,

B. Acknowledging the rapid spread of influenza viruses across continents within days,

C. Stressing the importance of having access to the right antivirals in sufficient quantities to combat an influenza virus effectively,

D. Highlighting the potential source of a pandemic in a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus (H5N1), which, upon mutation or recombination with the human influenza virus, may result in a highly aggressive influenza strain not covered by existing vaccines, thus necessitating the development of a ‘new’ vaccine,

E. Recognizing that the highest risk of an influenza pandemic emanates from Asian countries where the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus strain (H5N1) has been spreading for two years despite ongoing efforts by competent authorities to contain the disease, and emphasizing the importance of the EU providing increased support to these countries in line with the principles of international solidarity,

F. Understanding that the development and production of new vaccines is a complex and costly process that could take at least six months from the time when the virus is isolated and studied,

G. Emphasizing that the potential threat of the avian influenza virus recombining with seasonal influenza can be mitigated by ensuring that all individuals at high risk of exposure to the avian influenza virus are immunized against seasonal influenza,

H. Expressing concern about the substantial risk of inadequate, inequitable, and delayed vaccine supply in countries that do not produce vaccines domestically.