There’s a stark difference between the extraordinary technological achievement of companies developing, testing, producing, and winning FDA authorization to market three vaccines for COVID-19 in less than a year—and the utterly haphazard system for deciding who receive these products and in what order. Montgomery County in suburban Maryland presents a bleak case study: neighbors and friends eagerly share stories about acquaintances who got or did not get vaccination appointments. They scrutinize a Google spreadsheet that provides community anecdotes and success stories, as if trying to read prophecies in tea leaves.
The innovations of the vaccine developers will go down in history as an impressively fast and sophisticated response to an extraordinary global crisis. So why is the process for getting the shots so primitive? Marylanders are left with no choice but to hunt and gather because official websites from Montgomery County, the state of Maryland, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are uninformative and unhelpful for vaccine seekers. They’ve become a sick joke.
Randall Lutter is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
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