Black History: Special Delivery!!
African American immunization expert Tiffany Tate has accused the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with multinational services firm, Deloitte of stealing her idea for a mass vaccination tracker. Tate’s vaccination tracker is known as PrepMod. She is seeking $15 million in damages. A cease and desist letter was issued to the CDC and Deloitte in August 2020. Tate asserts that the CDC and Deloitte took concepts from her vaccination tracker and used them to develop a system with similar features. The Deloitte and CDC vaccination tracking system is called the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS). Deloitte also reportedly tried to hire Tate in June 2021 to help develop their system. Tate claims the Deloitte system is the same system she already has with PrepMod.
The cease and desist letter identifies the events that led up to the deal between the CDC and Deloitte and suggests that both organizations obtained details of Tate’s work and then implemented similar features in their VAMS system. Tate began talks with the CDC in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic. At that time, she allowed the CDC to see details about PrepMod. She presented the system to Deloitte and the CDC in April 2020 and shared cost information. In May 2020, the CDC shared that it was not prepared to engage in vaccine distribution using its current system, according to the cease and desist letter. The CDC then later unveiled its VAMS system, which Tate states is similar to her PrepMod system. According to Tate’s cease and desist letter, the CDC then offered Deloitte a $15.8 million contract for the VAMS system. The offer from the CDC was $5 million more than Tate had asked for the PrepMod system.
Tate, a veteran health professional, spent much of her career assisting people of color with getting vaccinated. Tate currently serves as the Executive Director of Maryland Partnership For Prevention (MPP). MPP a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that aims to improve the health status of Maryland residents. MPP is the adult immunization coalition for Maryland and parent organization of the Maryland Childhood Immunization Partnership (MCIP) and regional immunization coalitions across the state. Tate told the New York Times, that she was “in shock” and “heartbroken because I’ve worked with these people my entire career and I respected them and trusted them.” Deloite told the New York Times that Tate’s claims are “baseless”.
Tate’s initial direction was to license her system to the CDC so that states could use it for free. However, she has since ended up selling it to various states directly after the CDC awarded the contract to Deloitte. 27 states are currently using PrepMod while 10 states are using VAMS.