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A consultancy firm was paid $660,000 to assist with Australia’s vaccine strategy. But what did the consultants actually do?
AP: Frank Augstein/Pool
A global consulting firm was paid $660,000 by the Health Department as part of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy, but a departmental official has revealed that it did not provide “specific advice”.
The only document the department could produce from the four-week consulting contract was an eight-page summary of publicly available vaccine data.
The pace of Australia’s vaccine rollout has been a political focal point in recent days after the latest COVID-19 outbreak swept through Melbourne, plunging the city into its fourth lockdown.
The government’s pandemic decision-making ranging from which vaccines were secured, to how the vaccination program rolled out has also been under heavy scrutiny.
The federal government has engaged consultants and contractors to assist in preparing and delivering COVID-19 vaccines, announcing partnerships with firms such as DHL, Linfox, PwC and Accenture to provide services and advice on a range of vaccine and distribution issues.
But other consultants have also received key contracts, and last year, the Health Department signed a $660,000 contract with McKinsey Pacific Rim that extended from August to September 2020 to provide vaccine and treatment strategy advice.
The advice was provided when the government was considering which COVID-19 vaccines to select and how it would roll out a national vaccination program.
The Health Department told 7.30 that McKinsey did not provide any advice on the vaccine sourcing strategy for Australia, and instead “assessed Australia’s preparedness for a vaccination program” and its vaccine manufacturing capabilities.
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