PwC and Accenture the lead consultants for Covid-19 vaccine rollout

24 January 2021 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read

Consultants from PwC have landed 2021’s most important consulting job for the nation: overseeing the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. The competitive bid saw Accenture named the program’s main digital partner.

Australia plans to deliver over 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year – aiming to inoculate the entire population within 2021. The vaccine is due for Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval in January, and the rollout was originally planned to begin in late March.

Pressure from the opposition as well as the emergence of a new strain globally has since forced the government to bring the rollout date forward to the end of February.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison laid out specifics for the new accelerated rollout. The late February doses will target vulnerable groups, while an additional 4 million health workers, border security officials and care home residents are set to be vaccinated by end March. Come June, Morrisson hopes to have covered half of Australia’s adult population.

Australia plans to inoculate its entire population in 2021

Helming this mammoth delivery process is PwC – appointed the Australian Department of Health’s program delivery partner. The job is to oversaw the operation, and coordinate activities of several actors working on specific functional areas, including – for instance – logistics partners DHL and Linfox. The pair are tasked with transporting needles, syringes, protective equipment and the vaccine itself – in special dry ice carriers – for nationwide distribution.

Accenture is also at the forefront, charged with building software that can visually track the entire vaccine supply chain – from its arrival with health services all the way to the final jab, while also monitoring potential after effects. The tech-based delivery management system is similar to what Big Four accounting and advisory firm Deloitte is developing for the vaccine rollout in Canada.

In fact, with this new assignment, PwC and Accenture in Australia join a global body of leading consulting firms working on vaccine delivery strategies. France has picked McKinsey & Company to help with its rollout, while Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, PwC and McKinsey are all among the lead consultants of the UK’s vaccination programme.

Juggling expectations

The pressure is on globally, as governments juggle between ensuring that vaccines are developed safely, and the urgency of delivering them at the earliest possible date. An example is France, where the government has been criticised for being slow on the vaccine uptake, while senior officials have refused to rush the delicate process.

The story is identical in Australia. The initial March rollout plan was met with criticism from the opposition leader Anthony Albanese for being late. “There are consequences beyond people getting coronavirus and dying. There's mental health concerns, people being isolated. There is the economy and job losses.”

At the same time, the government has urged that Australia’s infection rates are largely under the control, while the economy appears to be poised for a quick recovery in 2021 and beyond. “Australia's response to the Covid-19 pandemic remains the envy of the world,” said Health Minister Greg Hunt.

According to the Prime Minister, this affords the country time to approve the vaccine properly, which is why Australia hasn’t followed France or the UK in seeking emergency approval. “Australians want a swiftly developed and administered vaccine but more importantly they want a safe one and they don’t want any corners cut. Doing that is critical to public confidence in the vaccine, so we haven’t gone to emergency vaccination arrangements.