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French Influenza Pandemic Preparedness and Response plan

13 Dec 2011

ECDC Public Health Development 2011-12-13

French Influenza Pandemic Preparedness and Response plan
French Ministry of Work, Employment and Health - November 2011

A new French Influenza Pandemic Preparedness and Response plan was published on the website of the French Ministry of Health in December. Along with the UK national pandemic preparedness frame work there are the first two ‘post 2009’ national pandemic plans that EU/EEA member states have published.

Following the 2009 pandemic in France, multiple national reviews led by parliamentary institutions (Rapport de Mme Marie-Christine BLANDIN, sénatrice et M. Jean-Pierre DOOR, député, fait au nom de l'Office parlementaire d'évaluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques; Report of the French Senate into the handling of the pandemic; N° 2698 Rapport d'enquête de M. Jean-Pierre Door sur la manière dont a été programmée, expliquée et gérée la campagne de vaccination contre la grippe A(H1N1)) highlighted the need to update the former national pandemic plan to improve the national preparedness and response strategy in order to learn from the 2009 experience.

Those reviews had many observations and recommendations and  specifically pointed out that the previous preparedness was incomplete and that the response plans were neither operational nor flexible enough. The revision process started in November 2010 and was led by the Prime Minister’s office for national security working jointly with the General Directorate of Health, and other relevant governmental departments. This was thus a cross-sectoral and inter-institutional approach. Other stakeholders involved in the national review process included from other experts, public health, clinical, and scientific professionals.

The new plan aims to create more flexibility and to allow taking adapted measures and having a graded response based on the local situation. It is targeted at French national decision makers and will be complemented by the local organization plans. The major changes from the previous pre-2009 approach are in three main areas:

1. Response management:

  • Better consideration of territorial and local services response management to be considered. Guidelines are being developed for vaccination campaigns, organization at the local level, and medicines storage and delivery definition.
  • Response plans should allow decision makers to take measures proportional to each particular threat allowing for grading of the measures taken;  specific forms aimed for decision makers have been developed with this purpose.

2. Response capabilities:

  • The development of response capabilities should be based as much as possible on existing human and material resources. This requires major changes to legal texts to allow for the inclusion of public health workers.

3. Communication:

  • Major improvements are envisaged in the way general practitioners are communicated with and involved in the whole communication process in order to facilitate the communication with the public and the flow of medical information to the public.

More information about the new French Influenza Pandemic Preparedness and Response plan can be found here.  In addition, hard copies and CD’s of the plan (currently only available in French) can be requested to the following email address:

ECDC Comment  (December 8th 2011)

ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe held pandemic preparedness workshops for EU/EEA countries in September 2011. The majority of EU countries are currently updating their pandemic plans in the light of the 2009 experience and the many evaluations of the plans and responses. Hence it can be expected that the components of the list of EU/EEA Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plans will change significantly in 2012. ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe would like to know when updates take place and they can be informed by emailing and A word of caution must be expressed here and that concerns pandemic plans identified through the internet. These plans have now become so complex that it should not be imagined that what is found on the internet represents the entirety of a country’s plans. There can be specialist plans, non-health care sector plans, regional (sub-national) and local plans etc.  National and international evaluations of the 2009 pandemic response can be identified here.

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