Around a dozen of the EU's 27 member states are short of vaccines, and 'we will try today to give the European Commission the right to help them', Sweden's Health Minister Maria Larsson said as she arrived at the meeting.

Ministers were also to debate whether they should share vaccine stocks with developing countries outside Europe, Larsson said.

Larsson was set to chair the extraordinary meeting, since Sweden currently holds the EU's rotating presidency. The European Commission is the bloc's executive and coordinates EU-wide health measures.

"Even if the pandemic situation isn't so dramatic in Europe right now, we have to listen to the experts who say it's not time to lower our guard," said Larsson. The A(H1N1) virus "hasn't hurt us as much as we thought, and I hope that people still want to have a vaccination," she told reporters.

EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou also warned that while it was up to individuals to decide whether they should get vaccinated, it was probably better to take precautions.

"We don't know how this virus will evolve with the change of weather. So we have to be prepared for the worst hoping the worst will not come," she said.