The H1N1 flu pandemic has not been as dramatic as first feared but this is not the time for the public to let its guard down. That was the message ahead of a meeting of EU health ministers in Luxembourg on Monday.
They are putting their heads together to coordinate a vaccination strategy in the coming weeks. One concrete aim is to provide a common pool of vaccines that EU members without adequate stocks can use. They are also looking at ways of making combined orders for vaccines and improving a common public awareness strategy. EU ministers have urged Europeans to get vaccinated out of precaution and solidarity, although some groups have voiced concern about the medical wisdom of a mass vaccination plan and what some say is a “blind faith” in pharmaceutical companies. Some 137 Europeans reportedly died of H1N1 flu between April and September. At least 40,000 Europeans die of seasonal flu every year.