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video reports

COVID-19 updates

4 May 2021

COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor
Cross-Country Analysis: What strategies are countries using to get COVID-19 vaccines to people in hard-to-reach groups?

Hard-to-reach populations have disproportionately experienced the negative impacts of COVID-19; therefore, they are not only a crucial demographic for governments to vaccinate, but also require coordinated strategies to ensure they have equitable vaccine access. This analysis outlines the most commonly adopted strategies across the European Region.

29 April 2021

Joint Research Centre
From science to action: finding a common European approach for tracking SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in wastewater

It is seven in the evening and JRC scientist Bernd Gawlik is multitasking: he is preparing a dinner with a recipe originating from the German part of Silesia – the region his family is originally from – while drafting replies to a journalist on tracking COVID-19 with wastewater.

Global health and health workforce development: what to learn from COVID-19 on health workforce preparedness and resilience? 
Ellen Kuhlmann, Gilles Dussault, Tiago Correia

Public health competences through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic: what matters for health workforce preparedness for global health emergencies?
Katarzyna Czabanowska, Ellen Kuhlmann

28 April 2021

New COVID-19 collection

To celebrate the European Immunization Week, the ECDC has created a new COVID-19 collection that will be updated weekly, as they publish new articles on the topic.

SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern pose a higher risk for hospitalisation and intensive care admission

A study coordinated by ECDC together with seven EU countries – Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Portugal – analysed data on the three VOC reported by the collaborating countries, and the research shows a higher risk for hospitalisation and intensive care admission.

The Lancet
SARS-CoV-2 elimination, not mitigation, creates best outcomes for health, the economy, and civil liberties

'Countries that consistently aim for elimination—ie, maximum action to control SARS-CoV-2 and stop community transmission as quickly as possible—have generally fared better than countries that opt for mitigation—ie, action increased in a stepwise, targeted way to reduce cases so as not to overwhelm health-care systems.'

22 April 2021

The Lancet Psychiatry
COVID-19 and suicide

'A professional consensus, in other words, is emerging concerning suicide and the pandemic. It refutes the use of suicide statistics to score political points (for example, about the wisdom of lockdowns), but it recognises the role that those in power can play in mitigating the economic and social factors that might increase the risk of suicide. It resists oversimplified narratives that reduce the complexities of mental distress to a simple count of deaths, but it asserts the importance of individual experience. The consensus insists on facts over sensationalist hearsay, but it is not complacent. And it emphasises that we are at a historic moment in which much is still uncertain, yet with effective monitoring systems a great deal can be known and acted on.'

Covid-19: What do we know about airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2?

How COVID-19 spreads is one of the most debated questions of the pandemic. Chris Baraniuk explains what the evidence tells us about airborne transmission of the virus.

Journal of Migration and Health
Clinical outcomes and risk factors for COVID-19 among migrant populations in high-income countries: A systematic review

The authors conclude that 'migrants in high-income countries are at high risk of exposure to, and infection with, COVID-19. These data are of immediate relevance to national public health and policy responses to the pandemic. Robust data on testing uptake and clinical outcomes in migrants, and barriers and facilitators to COVID-19 vaccination, are urgently needed, alongside strengthening engagement with diverse migrant groups.'

21 April 2021

Coronavirus Politics: The Comparative Politics and Policy of COVID-19

This book identifies key threads in the global comparative discussion that continue to shed light on COVID-19 and shape debates about what it means for scholarship in health and comparative politics. It is available open access in pdf and in epub.

The Lancet
Prisons need to be included in global and national vaccinations effort against COVID-19

'On a global scale, effective management of COVID-19 in custodial settings is key to stopping the spread of the virus. People in detention are more vulnerable to severe forms of COVID-19 due to pre-existing conditions and more likely to contract the virus due to limited access to water and soap, hand sanitizer and face masks, the inability to physically distance and suboptimal access to healthcare.'

The Lancet Regional Health Europe
Maximising public adherence to COVID-19 self-isolation in Europe

In conclusion, 'COVID-19 has exacerbated inequalities and there are individuals and whole communities that cannot isolate without adequate financial and practical support that is easily accessible. We must accept this reality and unequivocally push for measures that support this critical behaviour.'

19 April 2021

European Journal of Public Health
COVID-SCORE Spain: Public perceptions of key government COVID-19 control measures

This article concludes that fostering public trust during health threats may improve perception of response efforts. Future efforts should tailor interventions that consider gender, education level, and whether people have been affected by COVID-19.

Leave no one behind: ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines for refugee and displaced populations

'As the world confronts one of the most formidable public-health challenges in recent history, how we respond today will determine not only the course of this pandemic but also who benefits from public-health advances for years to come. We may further entrench the inequities and distrust experienced by refugees and displaced populations around the world, or, by recognizing and confronting these inequities, we can build stronger, fairer health systems that are better prepared to respond to COVID-19 and future health emergencies.'

15 April 2021

COVID-19 response: mitigating negative impacts on other areas of health

This analysis concludes that the lack of attention to the broader health system and health impacts of vertical response measures, particularly under lockdowns—but also other elements of public health responses which, while less directly disruptive than lockdowns, may still have blind spots—has resulted in and will continue to cause significant harm to health and well-being.

14 April 2021

International Journal of Public Health
Toward ‘Vaccine Internationalism’: The Need for an Equitable and Coordinated Global Vaccination Approach to Effectively Combat COVID-19

'ASPHER calls upon civil society organisations (CSOs) and schools of public health to support the WHO and national governments in catalyzing efforts to combat the spread of disinformation and misinformation. CSOs and schools of public health must not only continue to convey factual, evidence-based information, but also identify and share best practices and expertise with policymakers.'

COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen: assessment of very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low platelets continues

As announced last week, EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) is reviewing very rare cases of unusual blood clots that occurred in the United States following the use of Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine. 

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine: EMA to provide further context on risk of very rare blood clots with low blood platelets

EMA continues to monitor very rare blood clots with low blood platelets that occurred after vaccination with Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca).

13 April 2021

The Lancet Infectious Diseases
SARS-CoV-2 incidence and vaccine escape

This paper aims to answer the following question: how can COVID-19 exit strategies be planned while limiting the vaccine escape risk?

8 April 2021

Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2: implementation of a surveillance case definition within the EU/EEA

This document presents the findings of a survey of EU/EEA countries carried out to ascertain surveillance practices implemented to document and report suspected reinfection cases. It summarises the available evidence on the duration of protective immunity following infection with SARS-CoV-2, addressing concerns related to reinfection, such as disease severity during a reinfection episode. The survey responses and available evidence are used to underline the rationale for the surveillance case definition proposed for suspected reinfection cases, to be reported via The European Surveillance System (TESSy).

7 April 2021

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine: EMA finds possible link to very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets

EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca). However, EMA confirms overall benefit-risk remains positive.

1 April 2021

European Journal of Public Health
Area-level indicators of income and total mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic

The authors conducted an ecological study based on the number of deaths registered in the municipalities of the Lombardy region (Italy) between January 2019 and June 2020. In conclusion, the socioeconomic inequalities in mortality widened in Lombardy, the Italian region most severely hit during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 vaccine passports: access, equity, and ethics

'While the merits of vaccine passports may be undeniable, implementation will require ethical justifications and practical solutions that do not discriminate against the poor, the less technically literate, and people from low- and middle-income countries. Without mitigation strategies and alternative solutions, the hardships experienced by marginalised and vulnerable groups will be intensified through the perpetuation of discrimination.'

31 March 2021

Vaccines explained series

WHO's 'Vaccine Explained' series features illustrated articles on vaccine development and distribution. Learn more about vaccines from the earliest of research stages to their rollout in countries.

30 March 2021

WHO-convened global study of origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part

26 March 2021

Covid-19: Vaccine hesitancy fell after vaccination programme started

'More than eight out of 10 UK adults who were initially reluctant to have a covid vaccine now plan to do so, survey data suggest.
Preliminary findings from University College London’s Virus Watch study suggest that 86% of those who were unsure about having the vaccine or planned to refuse it in December 2020 have now changed their minds.'

Transmission of COVID-19: latest updates

Latest evidence on SARS-CoV-2 transmission and children, and on transmission in educational settings.

25 March 2021

The Lancet
COVID-19 vaccines for the European region: an unprecedented challenge

In this paper, Hans Kluge and Martin McKee explain that 'The logistics of delivering vaccination to the intended groups is complex. Many things need to be in place, including accurate population registers, systems to identify groups with low uptake, adequate numbers of vaccinators, with removal of restrictive rules on who can administer vaccines that remain in some countries, and well functioning logistics systems for vaccines deployment.'

24 March 2021

European Commission
Commission strengthens transparency and authorisation mechanism for exports of COVID-19 vaccines

'The European Commission has introduced the principles of reciprocity and proportionality as new criteria to be considered for authorising exports under the transparency and authorisation mechanism for COVID-19 vaccine exports. This system has significantly improved the transparency of exports. Nevertheless, the objective to ensure timely access to COVID-19 vaccines for EU citizens is still not met.'

23 March 2021

European Parliament
COVID-19 vaccines: MEPs quiz top officials on authorisation and contracts

MEPs quizzed the European Commission and European Medicines Agency on the latest developments concerning the authorisation and purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.

European Journal of Public Health
Assessing the Indirect Effects of COVID-19 on Healthcare Delivery, Utilization, and Health Outcomes: A Scoping Review

Healthcare utilization for non-COVID-19 conditions has decreased almost universally, across both high- and lower-income countries. The pandemic’s impact on non-COVID-19 health outcomes, particularly for chronic diseases, may take years to fully manifest and should be a topic of ongoing study. 

Covid-19: variants and vaccination

Current vaccines are based on a version of the spike glycoprotein from the start of the outbreak, however, and central questions remain around the ability of an old version of the spike glycoprotein to generate protective antibodies against newer emerging variants. 

22 March 2021

Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome

In this article, the authors provide a comprehensive review of the current literature on post-acute COVID-19, its pathophysiology and its organ-specific sequelae. They discuss relevant considerations for the multidisciplinary care of COVID-19 survivors and propose a framework for the identification of those at high risk for post-acute COVID-19 and their coordinated management through dedicated COVID-19 clinics.

21 March 2021

The Lancet
Prisons need to be included in global and national vaccinations effort against COVID-19

'People in detention are more vulnerable to severe forms of COVID-19 due to pre-existing conditions and more likely to contract the virus due to limited access to water and soap, hand sanitizer and face masks, the inability to physically distance and suboptimal access to healthcare. Moreover, most people spend limited time in prison and transition between community and prison, including staff moving daily in and out of the premises, which leads to increased risk of the virus entering prison and spilling into communities, demanding specific prevention measures.'

Maximising public adherence to COVID-19 self-isolation in Europe
Drawing on analyses of international approaches to self-isolation measures, [the authors] distil five key insights for maximising public adherence to self-isolation in the European region.

Joint ECDC - WHO Regional Office for Europe Weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Bulletin

Week 15-21 March

20 March 2021

The Lancet Regional Health / Europe
Do asymptomatic carriers of SARS-COV-2 transmit the virus?

'[The authors} suggest that asymptomatic individuals are infectious during the early stage of infection, but some rare cases (3/100.000) become long-term virus carriers which are no longer infectious. [...] It cannot be excluded that rare long-term carriers may become virus reservoirs, with the potential to cause recurrent outbreaks. This has important implications for future SARS-COV-2 public health and surveillance, and our understanding of yet another pitfall of this cunning virus.'

18 March 2021

European Commission
Statement following the European Medicines Agency review of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca

'As the European Medicines Agency has clearly stated today, the benefits of the vaccine in combating COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks of side effects. It is an effective and safe vaccine that greatly contributes to the efforts to address the impact of COVID-19 and the very serious health risks of an infection.'

17 March 2021

European Commission
Coronavirus: a common path to Europe's safe re-opening

The Commission has adopted a legislative proposal establishing a common framework for a Digital Green Certificate covering vaccination, testing and recovery.The Digital Green Certificate will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19. It will be available, free of charge, in digital or paper format.

Questions and Answers – Digital Green Certificate

15 March 2021

European Medicines Agency
EMA’s safety committee continues investigation of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and thromboembolic events – further update

'Several authorities responsible for national vaccine campaigns in EU countries have temporarily paused vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. This is a precaution taken in the light of their national situation while EMA investigates a number of events of blood clots in people who had received the vaccine, as previously reported.'

WHO / Europe
Dashboard: COVID-19 situation in the WHO European Region

13 March 2021

The Lancet
Access to COVID-19 vaccines: looking beyond COVAX

'Global vaccination is essential to ending the pandemic but this fact has still not prompted the unity required to deliver it. Far more vision and ambition are needed. They must come from the highest political levels.'

12 March 2021

The Lancet Infectious Diseases
A glimmer of hope beyond the spring for Europe

'When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe in early 2020, people were forced, for the first time, to comply with what were perceived as Orwellian, almost nightmarish, restrictions. Yet, Europeans adapted to the restrictions bravely, and the scenes of people singing together from their balconies or playing tennis on rooftops were uplifting and created a sense of unity and common purpose. 1 year later, feelings in the continent are quite different.'

11 March 2021

European Commission
Commission extends transparency and authorisation mechanism for exports of COVID-19 vaccines

The Commission has today extended until end of June the transparency and authorisation mechanism for COVID-19 vaccine exports. This follows persistent delays in some of the deliveries of vaccines to the EU.

European Commission
European Commission authorises fourth safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19

The European Commission has granted a conditional marketing authorisation (CMA) for the COVID‑19 vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and the fourth COVID-19 vaccine authorised in the EU.

The Lancet Regional Health / Europe
Is the worst of the pandemic over for Europe?

'To truly leave the pandemic behind, the world needs the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich to have equal access to the vaccines, and Europe has a crucial role to play in this philanthropic mission. A reassuring pledge has been made by the world leaders at the virtual G7 meeting on Feb 19, to donate a part of their vaccine supplies to the developing nations. Only time can tell if these promises will be fulfilled.'

10 March 2021

European Commission
Commission supports Member States in tackling coronavirus hotspots with offer of four million additional doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to be delivered this month

The European Commission has reached an agreement with BioNTech-Pfizer for the supply of four million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines for Member States in the next two weeks in order to tackle coronavirus hotspots and to facilitate free border movement.

Risk of mortality in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern 202012/1: matched cohort study

'The probability that the risk of mortality is increased by infection with VOC-202012/01 is high. If this finding is generalisable to other populations, infection with VOC-202012/1 has the potential to cause substantial additional mortality compared with previously circulating variants. Healthcare capacity planning and national and international control policies are all impacted by this finding, with increased mortality lending weight to the argument that further coordinated and stringent measures are justified to reduce deaths from SARS-CoV-2.'

Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health
Scaling COVID-19 against inequalities: should the policy response consistently match the mortality challenge?

The authors aimed to calibrate the scale of the modelled mortality impact of COVID-19 using age-standardised mortality rates and life expectancy contribution against other, socially determined, causes of death in order to inform governments and the public.

The BMJ 
How can we improve self-isolation and quarantine for covid-19?

The authors examined the approaches to supporting and monitoring isolation in countries with available data to help understand what works. Data sources included government reports and websites, peer reviewed articles, preprints, and news media reports.

The Lancet
School reopening without robust COVID-19 mitigation risks accelerating the pandemic

'Multi-layered mitigations can substantially reduce the risk of transmission within schools and into households. In the panel we [the authors] summarise a set of recommendations that are in line with guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and practised in many countries to reduce the risk of transmission in schools and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on children and families.'

9 March 2021

Journal of Public Health 
Acceptance of a Covid-19 vaccine is associated with ability to detect fake news and health literacy

'To promote acceptance of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, it is recommended to increase individuals’ ability to detect fake news and health literacy through education and communication programs.'

8 March 2021

EUPHA signs the advocacy statement on the Need for Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration in the Fight Against COVID-19

The World Federation of Public Health Associations, the Alliance of Public Health Associations of the Americas, the European Public Health Association, the African Federation of Public Health Associations, and the Asia Pacific Regional Liaison Office call on regional societies and national public health associations to re-emphasize their commitment to collaboration and to continue strengthening global partnerships.

Inspiring change: women’s leadership in health care is vital during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

COVID-19 continues to exacerbate existing inequalities and place a disproportionate burden on women, including in health-care settings. Women health workers are faced with increased workloads, a gender pay gap, shortages of personal protective equipment that fits them, and harassment and violence as they respond to the pandemic on the frontlines.

The Lancet Global Health
COVID-19 serosurveys for public health decision making

COVID-19 vaccination is being rolled out in many countries. Serosurveys will continue to be of great use for understanding population immunity on account of natural infection as well as vaccination and ongoing transmission.

5 March 2021

European Commission
International Women's Day 2021: COVID-19 pandemic is a major challenge for gender equality

Ahead of International Women's Day, the Commission published its 2021 report on gender equality in the EU, that shows the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women. The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities between women and men in almost all areas of life, both in Europe and beyond, rolling back on the hard-won achievements of past years.

3 March 2021

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
VaC tracker

The LSHTM VaC tracker is focused on presenting a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the global vaccine landscape, provided in a user-friendly and engaging format. The landscape feature is updated weekly, collating information on all preclinical and clinical candidates from the WHO COVID-19 vaccine landscape and the Milken Institute's tracker, as well as information provided directly by developers. An interactive timeline displays clinical trial dates and locations for each candidate, providing users with the option to subset vaccines by platform and development phase.

The Lancet Global Health
Preparing for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out through simulation exercises

'Both vaccine-specific tabletop exercises and intra-action review adopt a whole-of-society approach that involves different sectors of the government, private and public sectors, community organisations, and academia to conduct studies to understand vaccine hesitancy and how to promote positive behaviour change. Hence, being one of the biggest vaccination endeavours in history, everyone needs to be on board. By working together, being prepared, and staying one step ahead, we can prevail in the fight against COVID-19.'

COVID-19: use intersectional analyses to close gaps in outcomes and vaccination

The authors call for an intersectional approach to COVID-19 research and vaccination programmes to better serve people. Socially, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, class and geography are key mediators of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, access to care and the impact of lockdowns. Biologically, age, male sex, obesity and co-morbidities are important risk factors for severe disease and mortality. More investigation is needed on how these factors interact to affect health and vaccination.

Methods for the detection and identification of SARS-CoV-2 variants

This technical guidance provides guidance to laboratories, microbiology experts and relevant stakeholders in making decisions on establishing or scaling up capability and capacity to detect and identify circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, and in making decisions on which technologies to use and for which objective.

1 March 2021

The Lancet Regional Health Europe
Evidencing the detrimental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health across Europe

As vaccination programmes are rolled out across the continent, and the immediate impact of COVID-19 gradually abates, comprehensive public health strategies will need to optimise societal well-being, health and prosperity by carefully balancing the complex trade-offs between enhancing the mental health and life chances of younger people and working age adults whilst protecting the physical health and safety of older persons and individuals with existing serious physical health conditions

26 February 2021

European Commission
Coronavirus: First EU disinfection robots arrive in hospitals

Two Slovenian hospitals received two of the first robots purchased by the Commission to disinfect patient rooms, thus helping reduce and contain the spread of coronavirus. A further 29 disinfection robots are deployed to hospitals in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. These robots can disinfect a standard size patient room in as quickly as 10 minutes by using ultraviolet light and disinfect over 18 rooms in one charge. The aim is to ensure a sterile environment in hospitals without exposing staff to unnecessary risk. Since this is a physical process rather than one using a chemical disinfectant, it is safer for the hospital staff as they do not need to handle, transport or store toxic, hazardous or corrosive chemicals anymore.

Communicable disease threats report, 21-27 February 2021, week 8

This issue of the ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) covers the period 21-27 February 2021 and includes updates on COVID-19, Avian influenza A(H5N8) virus, seasonal influenza, Ebola virus disease, chikungunya virus disease and dengue.

25 February 2021

New WHO expert group to identify gaps and solutions to the mental health impacts of COVID-19

The group, tasked with reviewing evidence, identifying gaps and exploring solutions, will inform and support countries’ efforts in addressing mental health needs within and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statement – Update on COVID-19: WHO/Europe calls for action on post-COVID conditions/“long COVID”
Statement by Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe

24 February 2021

The Lancet
Learning from crises

Despite how they are common practice, there is little evidence that inquiries are an effective way of learning operational lessons from past crises. We must do better. Therefore, we would support an examination of the events from the past year; however, we would also call for an examination of the way in which these inquiries are done to ensure that they produce active rather than just passive learning.

23 February 2021

The Lancet
The changing face of medical professionalism and the impact of COVID-19

There is an urgent need for a system-level approach to address the issues that COVID-19 has created to better protect and safeguard our medical workforce for the future.

18 February 2021

Data for the maps in support of the Council Recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the EU/EEA

The downloadable data file contains the data on which the maps requested in the Council Recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in EU/EEA are based. They are published every Thursday.

European Medicines agency
COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca

Full assessment report for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. In short, COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is made up of another virus (of the adenovirus family) that has been modified to contain the gene for making a protein from SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca does not contain the virus itself and cannot cause COVID-19.

European Commission
Coronavirus: EU Health Security Committee agrees on a common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests

The EU Health Security Committee agreed on a common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, a selection of rapid antigen tests for which Member States will mutually recognise their results, and a common standardised set of data to be included in COVID-19 test result certificates. 

European Parliament
Coronavirus: a timeline of EU action in 2021

Discover what action the EU is taking in 2021 for the roll-out of vaccines and treatment, to boost the economy, employment, society, travel and transport and to help its partners worldwide to fight Covid-19.

17 February 2021

European Commission
Coronavirus: preparing Europe for the increased threat of variants

The Commission is proposing immediate action to prepare Europe for the increased threat of coronavirus variants. The new European bio-defence preparedness plan against COVID-19 variants called “HERA Incubator” will work with researchers, biotech companies, manufacturers and public authorities in the EU and globally to detect new variants, provide incentives to develop new and adapted vaccines, speed up the approval process for these vaccines, and ensure scaling up of manufacturing capacities. 

Behavioural Insights research to support the response to COVID-19: a survey of implementation in the EU/EEA

This Technical Report presents evidence about the current status of Behavioural Insights (BI) research being conducted in the ten EU/EEA Member States that responded to an ECDC survey, within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus is on identifying experiences, challenges, and key lessons learned in translating the findings from BI research into effective strategies for pandemic response, and for optimising risk communication activities. The work has been undertaken in the context of concern about sub-optimal compliance in some Member States to the non-pharmaceutical measures that are in place to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2, and also with regards to the need to support the implementation of national COVID-19 vaccination programmes.

15 February 2021

Risk assessment: SARS-CoV-2 - increased circulation of variants of concern and vaccine rollout in the EU/EEA, 14th update

12 February 2021

The Lancet
Challenges in ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccines: production, affordability, allocation, and deployment

In this Health Policy paper, [the authors] discussed the development and production, affordability, allocation, and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the interactions between these dimensions of the global vaccination challenge. The distinct characteristics of leading COVID-19 vaccines across each of these dimensions generate trade-offs, which mean that both globally and nationally, the availability of diversified sets of vaccine options is likely to be needed to bring the global pandemic under control.

11 February 2021

Vaccine tracker

9 February 2021

Ombudsman calls on ECDC to be more open about its work as vaccine rollout begins

Following a six-month inquiry into the performance of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) during the COVID-19 crisis, the European Ombudsman has made a series of proposals to enable greater public scrutiny and understanding of its work as the crisis continues and the focus of that work moves to the monitoring of vaccine distribution.

5 February 2021

Redoubling public health measures needed due to COVID-19 virus variants

Countries need to increase sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 viral isolates and report them. WHO also urges continuing and redoubling all of the basic public health and social measures that are known to work, including testing, isolating and treating cases, contact tracing, and quarantine for contacts of cases. Everyone is part of this effort and individuals will need to be extra careful and continue protective measures such as hand hygiene, physical distancing, and wearing a mask when needed.

Coronapod: Variants – what you need to know

This episode of Coronapod, discusses wha variants are, and the best way to respond to them, in the face of increasing evidence that some can evade the immunity produced by vaccination or previous infection.

Community needs, perceptions and demand: community assessment tool

The Community needs, perceptions and demand: community assessment tool can be used by countries to rapidly assess and respond to community health needs and perceptions around access and effective use of essential health services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

3 February 2021

COVID-19 Results Briefing - European Union

This document contains summary information on the latest projections from the IHME model on COVID-19 in the European Union. The model was run on February 3, 2021, with data through February 1, 2021.

2 February 2021

Coronavirus is in the air — there’s too much focus on surfaces

Research on the virus and on COVID-19 moves quickly, so public-health agencies have a responsibility to present clear, up-to-date information that provides what people need to keep themselves and others safe.

Comparing the Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson

Covid-19: People who have had infection might only need one dose of mRNA vaccine.

People who have already had confirmed covid-19 might only need a single dose of a mRNA vaccine, two small studies have indicated

The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Understanding the drivers of transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Despite the recent development of effective vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), non-pharmaceutical interventions will remain the cornerstone in the battle against COVID-19 for some time. Such interventions are effective but have major societal and economic impacts and should therefore be used as selectively as possible.

1 February 2021

Covid-19: Novavax vaccine efficacy is 86% against UK variant and 60% against South African variant

The SARS-CoV-2 vaccine produced by the US biotechnology company Novavax is 95.6% effective against the original variant of SARS-CoV-2 but also provides protection against the newer variants B.1.1.7 (85.6%) and B.1.351 (60%), preliminary data from clinical trials show.

Covid-19: AstraZeneca vaccine is approved in EU with no upper age limit

The European Medicines Agency authorised Astra Zeneca’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for use in all adults aged over 18 on 29 January, just days after German newspapers suggested that the vaccine would be limited to adults aged under 65 because of poor efficacy in older people.

29 January 2021

European Parliament briefing
Covid-19 vaccination campaigns: The public dimension

European Ombudsman
How the European Commission ensures transparency in relation to ‘advanced purchase agreements’ negotiated with pharmaceutical companies for vaccines against COVID-19

The Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration and looks into broader systemic issues with the EU institutions.

The complainant wrote to the European Commission requesting that it disclose the names of those involved in negotiating 'advance purchase agreements' with pharmaceutical companies for the purchase of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Commission disclosed the name of the Director-General negotiating on behalf of the Commission, but refused to disclose the names of the other experts and members of the 'joint negotiation team' involved in the negotiations. It stated that this was to protect their personal data and to maintain their independence in the ongoing negotiations. The Commission then failed to reply to the complainant's request that it review its decision. 

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry and, as a first step, asked the Commission to elaborate further on its refusal to disclose the names.

28 January 2021

The Lancet
SARS-CoV-2 testing for public health use: core principles and considerations for defined use settings

Robust strategies for widespread testing should take into account the core principles relating to diagnostic testing, and specific considerations for each defined use. Evidence suggests that rapid antigen tests are relevant for a wide set of uses, but there is still a need to invest in the development of novel diagnostics for commoditised use beyond the health-care system.

European Commission
Latest set of reports and the way forward - Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation Monitoring Programme

The Commission published a set of reports on actions taken in December 2020, provided by the signatories of the Code of Practice on Disinformation as part of the COVID-19 monitoring and reporting programme. The Commission also announces the continuation of the programme as the pandemic is still unfolding.

European Commission
eHealth Network Guidelines on proof of vaccination for medical purposes-basic interoperability elements

Following the conclusions of the European Council of 10-11 December 2020 and of 21 January 2021, the EU Member States, with the support of the European Commission, adopted guidelines on proof of vaccination for medical purposes.

27 January 2021

European Journal of Public Health
Learning from past mistakes? The COVID-19 vaccine and the inverse equity hypothesis

While the discovery of a safe and effective vaccine represents a significant breakthrough, it will not necessarily abolish the inequalities associated with COVID-19. Careful consideration should be given to how the delivery of the COVID-19—and future—vaccination programmes will address the challenges associated with the inverse equity hypothesis


26 January 2021

BBC News
Coronavirus: Vaccine supply fears grow amid EU export threat

The EU has warned Covid vaccine producers they must deliver agreed supplies, amid fears reductions could seriously hamper its inoculation drive.

25 January 2021

European Commission
Infographic - How mRNA vaccines protect you against COVID-19

mRNA technology explained in simple terms

21 January 2021

Covid 19: Hope is being eclipsed by deep frustration

we can’t simply wait for vaccine rollout. Nor are lockdowns anything other than a pause button. Much, much more needs to be done to avoid viral transmission and mutation. Where is the strategy for the coming months, once lockdown lifts? Where are the basic public health measures to help people who want to self-isolate but can’t afford to or who live in overcrowded accommodation? Why blame and shame when what is needed is practical support?

More palpable than hope is the deepening frustration at government inaction, missteps, and continuing incompetence.

20 January 2021

COVID-19—break the cycle of inequality

The pandemic provides harsh lessons about the societal vulnerabilities that arise from inequality. There is a clear need for financial recommitment to public health capacity, but also this should accompany a substantial commitment to tackling the social determinants of poor health and wellbeing.

19 January 2021

European Commission
Commission sets out key actions for a united front to beat COVID-19

Two days ahead of the meeting of European leaders on a coordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Commission set out a number of actions needed to step up the fight against the pandemic.

15 January 2021

The Lancet Infectious Diseases
An exceptional vaccination policy in exceptional circumstances

12 January 2021

Coronavirus response: €20 million to support the health sector and businesses in Poland

Thanks to a modification of the Operational Programme for Kujawsko-Pomorskie region in Poland, nearly €20 million are now available to help tackle the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

9 January 2021

The Lancet
Thinking across disciplinary boundaries in a time of crisis

'Yet a widely held assumption that everything a learner needs to know about a field can be gained from those already working within it holds powerful sway. We challenge that assumption, proposing that clinicians can learn from experts outside medicine whose ways of doing resonate with medical practice but whose expertise often goes unrecognised.'

8 January 2021

European Commission
Commission proposes to purchase up to 300 million additional doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine

This vaccine portfolio would enable the EU not only to cover the needs of its whole population, but also to supply vaccines to neighbouring countries.

6 January 2021

Covid-19 vaccination: What’s the evidence for extending the dosing interval?

On 30 December the four UK chief medical officers announced that the second doses of the COVID vaccines should be given towards the end of 12 weeks rather than in the previously recommended 3-4 weeks. Gareth Iacobucci and Elisabeth Mahase look at the questions this has raised.

European Commission
European Commission authorises second safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19

Today [6 January 2021], the European Commission has granted a conditional marketing authorisation (CMA) for the COVID‑19 vaccine developed by Moderna, the second COVID-19 vaccine authorised in the EU.

5 January 2021

The Lancet
Public health emergency or opportunity to profit? The two faces of the COVID-19 pandemic

May CI van Schalkwyk, Nason Maani and Martin McKee call on public health professionals to 'challenge all commercial interests that undermine our efforts to build a fairer and healthier world.'

31 December 2020

The BMJ Global Health
Towards inclusionary and diversity-sensitive public health: the consequences of exclusionary othering in public health using the example of COVID-19 management in German reception centres and asylum camps

Building on the concept of othering, this article argues that processes of othering are structurally anchored in German asylum regulations and they have further pervaded public health measures against COVID-19.

22 December 2020

COVID-19 vaccination and prioritisation strategies in the EU/EEA

This document builds on a previously published ECDC report, ‘Key aspects regarding the introduction and prioritisation of COVID-19 vaccination in the EU/EEA and the UK. By using mathematical modelling, this document provides EU/EEA countries with information on factors that may affect the choice of COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 in children and the role of school settings in transmission - first update

The aim of this document is to provide an update on the knowledge surrounding the role of children in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the role of schools in the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the experience in the EU from August–December, 2020.

WHO supports European countries’ response to new virus variant

WHO/Europe is supporting countries in the WHO European Region following the report of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant on 14 December 2020 by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Support has included: the assessment of risks; recommendations on virological studies, sequencing and vaccination; guidance on measures; and risk communication. Partner coordination and information sharing has been at the base of the response.

8 December 2020

The Lancet
Safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2: an interim analysis of four randomised controlled trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK

In conclusion, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 has an acceptable safety profile and has been found to be efficacious against symptomatic COVID-19 in this interim analysis of ongoing clinical trials.

7 December 2020

European Commission