ECDC signs memorandum of understanding with UK Health Security Agency

Press release

On 1 December 2021, Andrea Ammon, Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control ECDC and Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the Health Security Agency of the United Kingdom UKHSA, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed to strengthen the collaboration between the two agencies on matters of communicable diseases prevention and control.

Andrea Ammon (ECDC) and Jenny Harries (UKHSA) sign memorandum of understanding

The cooperation activities envisaged under this MoU include exchange of information, mutual consultation in the event of an emerging health threat that may affect or concern the European Union and the United Kingdom, and a possible exchange of personnel and liaison officers.

Director Ammon said: “I welcome this agreement with the United Kingdom, and I am committed to building a mutually beneficial relationship with the UKHSA. Any infectious disease that might affect the European Union can also target the UK and vice versa; therefore, both myself and Chief Executive Harries recognise that exchanging knowledge and expertise is paramount. By signing this MoU, we are continuing our work to strengthen international cooperation. ECDC has already made tremendous progress in this regard, by signing agreements with the US CDC, Chinese CDC, Public Health Agency of Canada, the Israel CDC, the Ministry of Health of Mexico, and recently by partnering with the South Korean CDC and with Africa CDC.”

Jenny Harries, CE of the UKHSA, said: “I am pleased to sign this agreement with Director Ammon today. This MoU demonstrates UKHSA’s ongoing commitment, on behalf of the UK, to the closest possible collaboration with ECDC. The MoU establishes a new sustainable and effective relationship that best supports both UKHSA and ECDC to prepare, detect and respond to health protection incidents and outbreaks. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us, communicable diseases do not respect borders. UKHSA firmly believes that health security collaboration with our international partners is imperative to protect all our citizens.”

The areas of mutual interest for cooperation under this MoU include: epidemic intelligence - sharing information rapidly particularly in the event of a public health emergency, public health emergency preparedness and response, surveillance and control of epidemic-prone diseases, health risk assessments, laboratory capacity-building and enhancement to detect and respond to emerging disease threats of global health importance, antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections, vaccine-preventable diseases and immunisation, emerging, food-, water- and vector-borne diseases, zoonotic diseases, coronavirus / influenza, and other respiratory infections, sexually-transmitted infections, blood-borne viruses and tuberculosis, public health training, and communication.

Background information

The ECDC Strategy 2021-2027 sets a goal to contribute to increased health security in the European Union through international collaboration and alignment regarding infectious disease policies and practice. This goal is planned to be achieved via Strategic objective 4 - ‘Increase health security in the EU through strengthened cooperation and coordination between ECDC and partners in non-EU countries.

This strategic objective calls for an increased cooperation with major centres for disease prevention and control (CDCs), among other international partners. ECDC has established bilateral relations with several CDCs at global level. Memoranda of Understanding were signed already in 2007 with the United States CDC, the Chinese CDC, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

In 2012, an administrative agreement with the Israel CDC, and in June 2021 a MoU with the Ministry of Health of Mexico were signed.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care. The UKHSA is responsible for planning, preventing and responding to external health threats, and providing intellectual, scientific and operational leadership at national and local level, as well as on the global stage.

For further inquiries

ECDC Press Office: / +46 (0)8 58 60 16 78

UK HSA Press Office: