It's clear Operation Warp Speed thought the finish line was merely getting a couple of vaccines through the regulatory hurdles at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
While bending, or sometimes dismantling, the truth isn't a new phenomenon at the almost-over Trump Administration, officials there overpromised and incredibly underdelivered the speed at which vaccines would arrive.
The two vaccines we currently have were developed at record-shattering speed without sacrificing safety in the process. For that, Operation Warp Speed and the Trump Administration deserve credit.
But the development of a vaccine wasn't the finish line. It was the first few hundred feet of a marathon.
Last July, Trump promised 100 million vaccine doses would be manufactured by the end of 2020. He repeated the promise in September. In October, he promised they would not just be manufactured, but delivered.
Then the numbers started to decline. Moncef Slaoui, the chief of Operation Warp Speed, said in mid-November that the United States would vaccinate 20 million people in December, and then 25-30 million each month after that.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in December he still expected the country would vaccinate "tens of millions" of Americans that month.
A report Friday by the Wall Street Journal started to shed light on why the vaccine distribution has been nearly a complete failure. Leaders of Operation Warp Speed sat on vaccine distribution plans for more than two months. That left the states that are largely responsible for carrying out that plan no time to implement a necessary campaign.
In a four-year term marred by controversy, tweets, an eventual ban from Twitter, incendiary rhetoric, false claims of election fraud, and more, Operation Warp Speed had at one time appeared to be a crowning mark of accomplishment for Trump. While the speedy development remains worthy of praise, the most important part of getting a vaccine is getting that vaccine into arms. To that end, this administration has fumbled the ball.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports as of Friday morning, there had been 10.5 million people who have received the first dose, and only 1.6 million who have received the second of two necessary doses. We're not even halfway to the number promised for December, and we're now halfway through January.
It has left Joe Biden, who will be sworn in as President on Wednesday after having won the 2020 election, with a massive cliff to climb. He has promised a big vaccine push, but while distribution efforts are flawed we also simply aren't manufacturing the vaccine quickly enough, as well.
Biden has promised 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days of office. His plan will call for some of the things Trump's plan missed, such as using the National Guard to help distribute the vaccines.
It may be months before many of our readers are able to get the vaccine. Here's what we can promise now: We'll keep you posted. But it's up to our leaders to get this ship headed in a better direction.