The mission of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) is to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to cross-border health emergencies. Created in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic to replace ad hoc solutions to pandemic management and response, it is a key pillar of the European Health Union and a fundamental asset to strengthen the EU's health emergency preparedness and response.
HERA anticipates threats and potential health crises through intelligence gathering and builds the necessary response capacities by addressing gaps in the EU’s preparedness. When a public health emergency is declared, we coordinate the development, manufacturing, and procurement of critical medicines, vaccines, and other medical countermeasures – such as gloves and masks – and see to it that distribution is carried out on an equitable basis, ensuring availability and access for all.
Bringing together EU Member States, the industry, and key stakeholders, HERA aims also to bolster systemic cooperation between actors on all fronts of the global health security architecture. We are constantly at work to repair vulnerabilities and build strong alliances, ensuring that the EU is ready to respond fast and decisively to future health crises.
HERA is designed to be a flexible structure that can adapt the focus of its activities as the situations requires, working through two operating modes.
During the preparedness phase, HERA works closely with Member States to analyse, identify, and prioritise possible health threats. This intelligence gathering serves as the basis for strategic coordination for the development of medical countermeasures, and the industrial capacity to produce and supply those countermeasures.
During the crisis phase, HERA carries out targeted response actions defined in the EU’s Emergency Framework Regulation. This framework gives it the authority to act as a central purchasing body for medical countermeasures, and to activate emergency measures for bolstering research, funding, and manufacturing capacity.
HERA does not work in isolation. In order to implement our mandate, we are assisted by the HERA Board and the HERA Advisory Forum, the latter supported by the Civil Society Forum and Joint Industrial Cooperation Forum.
While respecting the institutional competences of the Commission and of the Member States, and without prejudice to the institutional prerogative of the Commission, HERA is assisted in its activities by the HERA Board, composed of Member States representatives, relevant DGs and Agencies.
TheBoardbrings together the European Commission with senior Member States representatives and contributes to the preparation of multiannual strategic planning. It helps to set our objectives and shapes the strategic direction of both EU and national health preparedness and response actions. It also plays a key role in outreach beyond the Member States, including with the health, research, and industry communities.
HERA Advisory Forum
The HERA Advisory Forum brings together the Commission with technically competent bodies in the Member States and serves as a platform to exchange information and discuss ideas linked to HERA’s scientific, health and industrial activities.
The Forum's main role is to support the HERA Board with scientific and technical advice on key issues for our health security, ranging from supply chains and the manufacturing of medical countermeasures to epidemiological intelligence.
The HERA Advisory Forum has two sub-groups that report back to it, the Civil Society Forum and the Joint Industrial Cooperation Forum.
HERA operations require a significant and sustainable budget. Allocating resources for prevention and preparedness now will result in a significantly lower cost in the long term not only for the economy, but directly for our society and the health of European citizens.
As explained in the September 2021 Communication introducing HERA, the DG benefits from an important multisource budget amounting to €30 billion coming from different financial instruments including:
- Horizon Europe,
- The Union Civil Protection Mechanism,
- the European Defence Fund,
- the Recovery and Resilience Facility,
- And the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument
Further support from the Cohesion Funds may also be added.
HERA benefit also from the mobilisation of private funding (in the form of loans, guarantees, equity or quasi-equity), supported by budgetary guarantees under InvestEU and the European Fund for Sustainable Development for external actions, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank Group and other financial actors.
HERA operations also rely on national budgets allocated to activities aimed at supporting national plans for preparedness and response to health threats (e.g. Joint Procurement Procedures only involving national budgets). Multi-country projects, such as the planned IPCEI Health, will also contribute to the mission of HERA.
In the event of a public health emergency at Union level, in order to ensure the necessary flexibility and rapidity of implementation, the Council can trigger additional financing through the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI).