The Right To Health and access to pandemic influenza vaccines: procurement options for developing states

  • Mark Eccleston-Turner

Student thesis: Phd


The impact of influenza pandemics is felt most greatly in developing states, where the close proximity between humans and disease vectors, weak public health surveillance systems, and poor sanitation make these states particularly vulnerable to influenza pandemics. A vaccine is the most effective intervention to minimise the spread and impact of influenza, and yet, developing states are the least likely to have timely access to a vaccine during a pandemic. According to 'The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment No. 14: the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health' there is a clear positive obligation for states to provide access to vaccines during an influenza pandemic, and this obligation is not waived or depleted merely because developing states have resource constraints. There has been a proliferation of literature recently which has considered access to medicines in developing states and the right-to-health. However, there has been little exploration of this issue in respect of pandemic influenza vaccines. This research explores the manner in which developing states procure influenza vaccines during a pandemic, and determines if the current international legal mechanisms which are available to developing states can be successfully used to enhance procurement, and increase the amount of vaccine developing states can access during a pandemic, to a point where they can discharge their right-to-health obligations. In doing so, I argue that the WHO Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, and the flexibilities of the TRIPS Agreement are not able to enhance the procurement of pandemic influenza vaccines by developing states, to the point where states right-to-health obligations can be said to be discharged. From this, I propose an international 'Knowledge Clearing House as a solution to the problems in procurement which are identified in this research.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDavid Booton (Supervisor), Iain Brassington (Supervisor) & Catherine Rhodes (Supervisor)


  • global health
  • influenza vaccines
  • right to health
  • access to medicines
  • intellectual property

Cite this