A No-Bid Contract to Track Covid Vaccinations Draws Frustration, and a Cease-and-Desist


Eventually, she partnered with a software developer to create an online application called ReadiConsent, which won an award in 2018 from the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit, a coalition that partners with the C.D.C. to improve the use of vaccines. The product drew so much attention that in January of last year, she convened a consortium of 30 states that were interested in buying ReadiConsent.

According to the cease-and-desist letter, on March 13 — the same day that President Donald J. Trump declared the pandemic a national emergency — Ms. Tate approached some officials she knew at the C.D.C. to tell them she was updating her platform, and that she had a software firm with extensive government experience ready to scale it up for a “national rollout.”

The next month, she presented PrepMod to the American Immunization Registry Association, which was researching various software platforms for possible use in a mass vaccination campaign, and to C.D.C. officials, at meetings where Deloitte was present. The meetings included “a slide presentation and screenshots of PrepMod with detailed explanations of current and planned features,” the letter said.

Soon afterward, the agency inquired about the cost. “It was very clear that they were very very excited about what I was presenting to them and they told me that they didn’t have anything else,” Ms. Tate said in the interview.

In May, the C.D.C. awarded Deloitte a contract for $15.9 million — about $600,000 more than Ms. Tate had asked for. It has since awarded the company an additional $28 million for VAMS.

After the initial Deloitte contract was awarded, Ms. Tate said, she approached the company about forming a partnernership with her. Instead, her complaint said, they tried to hire her to “work on the very software and project that she had already developed and created.” But the offer required her to sign “a release,” embedded in a nondisclosure agreement, and she refused.

Her lawyer, Howard A. Newman, said they were still awaiting a substantive response from the government; under federal law, they must wait six months before filing suit. Ms. Tate said she was trying to move on: “I’m really busy trying to help people save lives. That is my primary goal right now and this litigation stuff — we’ll just see how that plays out.”



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