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Many countries, including some within the EU/EEA, are in the process of transitioning from the acute pandemic phase. During this transition, it is crucial that countries’ strategies and activities remain guided by clear COVID-19 control objectives, which increasingly will focus on preventing and managing severe outcomes. Therefore, attention must be given to the groups that are particularly vulnerable to severe outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection, including individuals in congregate and healthcare settings. In this phase of pandemic management, a strong focus must remain on transitioning testing approaches and systems for targeted surveillance of COVID-19, capitalising on and strengthening existing systems for respiratory virus surveillance. Furthermore, it will be crucial to focus on lessons learned from the pandemic to enhance preparedness and to enact robust systems for the preparedness, detection, rapid investigation and assessment of new and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Filling existing knowledge gaps, including behavioural insights, can help guide the response to future resurgences of SARS-CoV-2 and/or the emergence of other pandemics. Finally, ‘vaccine agility’ will be needed to respond to changes in people’s behaviours, changes in the virus, and changes in population immunity, all the while addressing issues of global health equity.


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