The Victorian government has paid tech giant Microsoft nearly $6 million to use its COVID-19 vaccination management platform, with the vaccine rollout set to start next week.
The Microsoft Vaccination Registration and Administration Solutions program will cover registration, scheduling of appointments, automatic replenishment of supplies, tracking and tracing of prescriptions and deliveries, using data and artificial intelligence solutions.
The Microsoft technology has encountered problems in the US, where it had experienced outages and software issues in New Jersey.
The Victorian government signed a contract with Microsoft in early January worth $5.8 million to use the platform following a whirlwind five-day tender process held in late 2020.
It is the first state government to officially ink a deal with Microsoft for the vaccination platform, although it is expected that others will follow.
The Victorian government went to the market in November last year for a vaccination management platform with only a five-day window. The state was on the hunt for cloud-based software to manage the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, with functionality across multiple devices, the ability to book appointments and temperature checking of the actual vaccine.
It underwent a “rapid evaluation process” of applicants late last year, with Microsoft then required to demonstrate its platform in December before signing the deal before the end of the year.
The contract, posted publicly this week, runs from 11 January to 30 June this year, and involves the Victorian government purchasing Microsoft’s existing platform, which has now been “fine-tuned” for use in the state.
The Microsoft platform will be used by individuals in the state and healthcare professionals. The US tech giant unveiled the platform in December last year, with help from partners Accenture, Avanade, EY and Mazik Global.
In a blog post about the platform earlier this year, the company said that the tool is designed to “enable and extend an organisation’s vaccination management capabilities and create end-to-end experiences for citizens, front-line vaccine administrators and healthcare providers”.
The platform is already in use in a number of states in the US. Recently it was reported that it had experienced a number of outages and software issues in New Jersey.
These issues include the blocking of users, lost registrations, double-booked appointments and system crashes for up to hours at a time, according to a Bloomberg report.
According to the report, New Jersey officials have “no confidence” the Microsoft platform will deliver on the features agreed upon in the contract.
Several other states in the US are using a version of the Microsoft platform, including Oklahoma and Iowa.
The Microsoft platform will also allow users to show proof that they have received the vaccine.
The federal government recently announced plans to use the existing Australian Immunisation Register and myGov platform for digital vaccination certificates after someone has received the vaccine.