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Parliamentary questions
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11 June 2020
 P-002044/2020
Answer given by Ms Kyriakides
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: P-002044/2020

The Commission is aware that the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 differs among different countries. Factors contributing to different death rates may be due to different testing policies, different healthcare system capacities and different population structures. Another factor may be different measures implemented by countries to protect the elderly, including easier access to seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccination.

Although the responsibility for vaccination policies, programmes and services lies with EU Member States, the Commission Communication(1) and Council Recommendation(2) on strengthened cooperation against vaccine-preventable diseases propose a large number of actions at EU level to increase vaccination coverage in EU Member States, including in a life-course perspective. A European Joint Action on Vaccination (EU-JAV)(3) co-funded by the Commission also ensures close cooperation with Member States.

Data at EU level is already available via the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) which monitors seasonal influenza activity in EU/European Economic Area countries(4), and Eurostat publishes coverage rates for seasonal influenza vaccination for persons aged 65+ in EU Member States and the United Kingdom(5).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides annual updates on the implementation of its Global Vaccine Action Plan, including regional plans(6). In addition, the WHO, together with Unicef, monitors the uptake of key childhood vaccines in all countries(7) and shares the data with ECDC.

Regarding the success rates of different response measures to COVID-19, ECDC follows the pandemic very closely and reports about it in regular risk assessments(8).

(1)https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2018:245:FIN
(2)https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/GA/TXT/?uri=OJ:JOC_2018_466_R_0001
(3)https://eu-jav.com/
(4)https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/seasonal-influenza
(5)https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/en/web/products-eurostat-news/-/DDN-20191209-2
(6)https://www.who.int/immunization/global_vaccine_action_plan/GVAP_review_lessons_learned/en/
(7)https://apps.who.int/immunization_monitoring/globalsummary
(8)e.g. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/covid-19-rapid-risk-assessment-coronavirus-disease-2019-eighth-update-8-april-2020.pdf
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