Diplomatic Immunity

COVID-19 vaccine safety – are vital steps being skipped?

Helen Petousis Harris May 12, 2020

Five months into the COVID-19 pandemic the conversation is shifting to vaccines. One of the key concerns voiced by some experts and public are that in the rush to get vaccines deployed, safety will be compromised. Here I outline, in part, the COVID-19 vaccine safety landscape of activities. First, let me introduce you to some of the key entities tasked … Read More

Beating the evolving COVID-19 pandemic – unprecedented human collaboration in discovery and innovation

Helen Petousis Harris Feb 26, 2020

Less than two months after China told the WHO there was a problem, a lot has happened. Sadly, deaths, confirmed cases and countries affected are increasing every day. However, on a scientific and medical level, what is going on to contain, cure and prevent this new disease is truly inspirational. Let’s look at the build-up to this global health emergency … Read More

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Prediction: NZ will probably never have another measles epidemic

Helen Petousis Harris Feb 10, 2020

The Ministry of Health has announced a package that might ensure New Zealand will never experience another measles epidemic. While at the time of writing the details are still limited it appears that the important limitations in our current programme have been acknowledged and the intent is to address them. Great stuff. The commitment is starting with $23 million and … Read More

2019-nCoV (the new coronavirus): Should we be concerned, and will there be a vaccine?

Helen Petousis Harris Jan 22, 2020

Probably yes to both but don’t panic yet. There is a plan. What is this virus? 2019 novel coronavirus, aka 2019-nCoV, belongs to a family of viruses called coronavirus. These are very common viruses that infect a wide range of animals including humans and can cause mild to severe disease, from colds to severe pneumonia. Coronaviruses are often transmitted between … Read More

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The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit – from someone who was actually there

Helen Petousis Harris Jan 14, 2020

The conspiracy I saw a new conspiracy theory flying around the other day. According to the conspiracy (that seems to originate from Del Bigtree), the World Health Organization have been ‘caught on camera’ questioning the safety of vaccines. Gosh this sounds as though someone was a mole at a secret meeting and filmed scientists admitting vaccines were … Read More

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Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections

Helen Petousis Harris Nov 07, 2019

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to address some misconceptions about pertussis vaccines. Seven key points in … Read More

Why are vaccinated people getting measles?

Helen Petousis Harris Sep 04, 2019

Here is a very quick and over simplified explanation about why some of the cases of measles are fully vaccinated (epidemiologists look away!). The vaccine is not 100% protective. One dose is around 92% and two doses around 98%. Generally, things look like this pie chart, assuming the vaccine is potent and the patients relatively healthy. Most cases occur in … Read More

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