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Immunization expert accuses CDC of stealing COVID-19 tracking idea

Immunization expert accuses CDC of stealing COVID-19 tracking idea
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An immunization expert is accusing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with a company called Deloitte for stealing her ideas for a mass vaccination tracker. 

A cease-and-desist letter from August obtained by The New York Times shows Tiffany Tate, creator of vaccination tracker PrepMod, is seeking $15 million in damages after she believes the CDC and Deloitte took the ideas from her vaccination tracker and implemented them in their own Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS)

The letter outlines the events that led up to Deloitte and the CDC’s deal and claims that they obtained details of Tate's work and then implemented similar features in their own system. 

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Deloitte even tried to hire Tate in June to help develop the system she claims she already has with PrepMod. 

Tate, who has spent her career helping get minorities vaccinated, told the Times that she was “in shock, and I really was heartbroken because I’ve worked with these people my entire career and I respected them and I trusted them.”

Deloitte told The New York Times that the claims are “baseless.”

"[VAMS is a] scalable, Salesforce-based application designed to CDC’s requirements and not based on [Tate’s ideas]," said spokesman Jonathan Gandel.

Tate started talking with the CDC in March of last year when the pandemic first began. In a meeting in March, Tate did agree to allow the CDC to see details about PrepMod, according to the letter.

After presenting her system to the CDC and Deloitte in April, Tate alleges the CDC's Immunization Information Systems Director asked about the cost of the system and wanted to meet with Tate’s technical team. 

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In May, CDC and Deloitte received details about Tate’s system with the CDC admitting it wasn’t prepared to take on vaccination distribution with its current system, the letter states. The CDC later unveiled VAMS, which Tate says has a similar structure as PrepMod.

Later in May, when a new feature was added to PrepMod, VAMS allegedly added a similar feature shortly after. 

At the end of the month, the CDC offered Deloitte a $15.8 million contract “essentially to reproduce PrepMod,” according to the letter. The offer was $.5 million more than Tate asked for her system.

Tate’s original plan was to license her system to the CDC so states could receive it for free, but she ended up selling it to states directly after the CDC partnered with Deloitte, The New York Times reported. 

PrepMod is being used in 27 states while VAMS is only being used in 10 states.

The cease-and-desist calls for a halt on any developments to the VAMS system and the cancelation of all demonstrations of the system.

The Hill has reached out to the CDC and Deloitte for comment.