Late deployment of vaccines in France focuses on consultants

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As the vaccine rollout in France continues to struggle, more and more criticism is mounting against government leaders and, in its wake, the consultants they use to help administer the vaccines.
France’s Covid-19 vaccination program has been regularly criticized by critics in recent weeks, having only managed to vaccinate less than 10,000 people between December 27 and early this week.

The performance was described as shockingly slow by critics, who pointed out that hundreds of thousands of vaccines were distributed in Germany during the same period – while the UK collected 1.3 million vaccines at a earlier date.

The country’s vaccination plan was announced by Professor Alain Fischer – a pediatric immunologist in charge of the national vaccination strategy. Consultants from McKinsey & Company were working with Fischer, who have provided strategic advice since the plan was unveiled in early December – and possibly even earlier.

McKinsey provided advice on topics such as “defining the logistics framework, establishing logistics benchmarking with other countries and supporting the operational coordination of the working group” for the global deployment. country.

Faced with the slow progress, the French government pledged in early January to drastically accelerate the deployment, in particular with a change of strategy to include health workers over 50 years old, as well as residents of nursing homes. The new plan also aims to create some 500 vaccination centers outside hospitals in the next two weeks.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal confirmed reports that global management consultants McKinsey are still involved in the program, along with several other consulting firms hired to support the vaccination campaign including IT consultants Accenture, Citwell and JLL.

Spending public funds on private consultants has not been universally welcomed nationally, but the government has defended the move saying there is a need to provide additional logistical support. Attal said in a weekly press conference that the hiring of external consultants brings “support from the private sector in addition to the expertise of our officials… It is in this context that we engaged McKinsey. As you know, logistics are at the heart of the vaccination campaign. ”

Meanwhile, in the UK, McKinsey is one of the leading consulting firms operated by the government in its planning for the Covid-19 response. The company is among other things involved in the ailing Test and Trace platform, which was supposed to curb the spread of Covid-19. Following criticism of the high fees paid to externs, the program recently announced that it was trying to reduce its reliance on private sector consultants.

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