Dr Helen Aspasia Petousis-Harris

BSc, PGDipSc (Distinction), PhD


I am a Vaccinologist, Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care and the Director of Research at the Immunisation Advisory Centre. For the past nineteen years I have been involved in immunisation-related research in New Zealand including clinical, social science, epidemiological and health systems. My main research areas are vaccine safety and vaccine effectiveness. I am a media spokesperson on vaccines and vaccination and have a role within the Immunisation Advisory Centre to provide scientifically based information on vaccines and vaccination to inform research strategy and current national practice and communicate the science of vaccination to the public. I am involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching on vaccines and vaccination and immunisation related research.

My research interests include vaccine effectiveness and vaccine safety. I am a member of the World Health Organization Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) and the International Brighton Collaboration Science Board.

Research | Current

Research interests

  • Vaccines and Vaccination
  • Safety of Vaccines
  • Effectiveness of Vaccines
  • Vaccine Communication


Postgraduate supervision

Supervision of Research Students.

Doctoral Students

Mr Adrian Ludlam. The HPreV Study: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, awareness, and vaccine acceptability among high-risk New Zealand males.

Ms Jazmin Duque. The Association Between Febrile Illness During Pregnancy and Adverse Outcomes Affecting the Offspring

Ms Hannah Chisholm. Understanding pertussis vaccine failure



Director of Immunisation Research and Vaccinology

Areas of expertise

  • General Vaccinology - vaccines and vaccination
  • Vaccine Preventable Diseases - in particular pertussis, human papillomavirus, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease
  • Vaccines - acellular pertussis, conjugate pneumococcal vaccines, OMV vaccines, recombinant vaccines
  • Vaccine Safety
  • Vaccine Efficacy and Effectiveness
  • Adressing Vaccine Mythology and Misconceptions

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member of the World Health Organization Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety 

Member of the International Brighton Collaboration Science Board

Convenor of the NZ Safety Expert Advisory Group

Member Australian AusVaxSafety Governance Board

Professional Member of The Royal Society of New Zealand

Member, International Society for Vaccines

Member Professional Advisory Board of the New Zealand HPV Project

Professional Member Royal Society of New Zealand (MRSNZ)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)


Contact details

Primary location

TAMAKI BUILDING 734 - Bldg 734
Level 3, Room 317
New Zealand

Social links

Web links