By RAF CASERT
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union says it will fund its new health preparedness and rapid response agency to the tune of 30 billion euros over the next six years. It’s even higher if individual efforts from the member nations and private sector are taken into account. The EU was caught off guard by the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The 27-nation bloc long lagged the U.S. and Britain in vaccination rates before regrouping and meeting its goal of having 70% of EU adults vaccinated this summer. The Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority was officially launched Thursday. The aim of HERA is to make sure the EU will be ready when the next crisis strikes.