Recommendations for a shared European Union approach to identifying target and priority groups for H1N1 vaccinations have been agreed on by the EU’s health security committee and Early Warning and Response authorities.
The August 25 2009 decision is an endorsement of European Commission recommendations.
The top priority groups for H1N1 vaccinations should be everyone older than six months with underlying chronic conditions such as chronic respiratory diseases, chronic cardiovascular diseases and people with congenital or acquired immunodeficiency, pregnant women and health care workers.
An EU statement said that these priority groups had been identified on the basis of current scientific evidence and taking into account guidance by the European Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation.
Once these first priority groups had been vaccinated, vaccinations would proceed until the national targets had been met, the EU statement said.
The statement said that it was the "responsibility and mandate" of each EU member state to develop a vaccination strategy for Influenza A H1N1.
Each country identifies national target groups which are defined as all those population groups where A H1N1 vaccination is recommended. In some cases, this may be the entire population and in other cases only specific groups.
"However, it is unlikely that the vaccine will be immediately available for all target groups at the same time and therefore, it is necessary to define priority groups," the statement said.
Currently, throughout Europe, 43153 H1N1 cases have been reported, with 93 deaths. Ninety-three new cases of H1N1 infection had been reported in Europe in the past 24 hours, media reports on August 26 2009 said. Unofficial figures are that there have been more than 40 reported cases of H1N1 infections in Bulgaria.