Fiona Russell

Vaccine Expert Advisory Group

Fiona RussellProfessor Fiona Russell (BMBS, Grad Dip(Clin Epi), Dip Paeds, MPHTM, FRACP, PhD) is a paediatrician, epidemiologist and translation researcher. She is Director of the Child and Adolescent Health PhD Program, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, and is a member of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Child and Neonatal Health Research and Training; and Group Leader for Asia-Pacific Health research, MCRI.

Her research provides evidence for policy decisions regarding immunisation and child health in low- and middle-income countries. Having lived in Fiji and Vietnam for more than 10 years, she has long term relationships with Ministries of Health in the Asia-Pacific region, local research institutions and WHO.

Her research focuses on novel vaccine impact evaluations, understanding herd immunity, prevention of mother to infant transmission of infections, and vaccine preventable disease surveillance. Her research has changed global, regional and country policy; is cited in the WHO pneumococcal conjugate vaccine Position Statements (2012, 2019); has led to a paradigm shift in the number and timing of vaccine doses used; and has led to new vaccine introduction in the region. The results from her work have been presented to WHO and Gavi.

She is a regular advisor to WHO Immunization and Vaccine Research technical advisory groups (2011, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018) on global PCV policy and research directions. Her group is currently undergoing the process to become a WHO Collaborating Centre on Pneumococcal Vaccinology. She has undertaken more than 30 international consultancies (UNICEF, WHO) to advise governments, donors (DFAT, Asia Development Bank) immunisation and child health policy (Asia, Pacific and Africa).

Currently she leads the Public Health and Epidemiology component of the WHO global review of childhood pneumonia guidelines; and a systematic review on what pneumococcal carriage can tell us in the post PCV era with regards to serotypes replacement; and a WHO review on COVID-19 in children. She leads a NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Pneumococcal Disease Control in the Asia-Pacific region with many partners from the Asia-Pacific region.

She is co-Editor of the weekly COVID-19 kids research evidence update; is a member of the WHO MNCAH COVID-19 living evidence synthesis working group; led the Victorian state government’s COVID-19 school outbreak analysis which has provided recommendations for opening up schools safely; and is co-investigator determining the role of children in transmission.