Operation Warp Speed succeeds by effectively producing COVID-19 vaccines, but only vaccinations can end a global pandemic, and on that front the program failed.
A federal contract with private-sector pharmacies to vaccinate residents and those who work at long-term care facilities appears to be an example of that failure. Oklahoma Watch examined the program and found that more than 62,000 of the 97,500 doses the state allocated to the pharmacies for that population remain in freezers more than a month later.
Information compiled in a federal database set up by the Trump administration to track the program's progress was found by Oklahoma Watch to be "outdated, unclear and inaccurate." Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed described the federal database as unreliable and said it provides little insight about when and where vaccines are being administered — a technical error prevents the state from accessing immunization information for those who were vaccinated.
The call for governments to be operated like businesses has become a common cry during the past few decades — it's likely a backlash to the growing government bureaucracies. And there are times when private-sector businesses operate more efficiently.
But what the COVID-19 pandemic proved time and again is the urgent need for a unified response, led at the federal level and carried out by the states. The piecemeal approach taken during the past 12 months failed on almost every front.
True, two new vaccines were produced, tested, approved for emergency use and distributed in record time. We're hopeful efforts to get that vaccines in arms will improve.