Operation Warp Speed chief visits Holy Cross in Silver Spring

The general in charge of the U.S.’s endeavor to distribute coronavirus vaccines across the country paid a “boots on the ground” visit to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Tuesday.

Army Gen. Gustave Perna and his Operation Warp Speed team met with health care leaders and the front line vaccine response team, the hospital said in a release.

“In this early stage of distribution, it is important and informative to hear from the field about what is working and what needs refinement,” Perna said. “Holy Cross has received several shipments of vaccine and has vaccinated nearly 1,500 staff members. Their experiences and feedback are essential to our joint learning.”

According to the hospital, the meeting focused on elements of ordering and receiving the vaccine, communications, and administering and documenting first-dose delivery.

Perna said he and his team were looking for feedback.

“The input we receive from Holy Cross and other sites is important to informing our continued efforts,” the general said.

Dr. Norvell Coots, the president and CEO of Holy Cross Health, called the general’s visit “an honor.”

“The Holy Cross team has been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic to care for our community and one-another. Knowing that our feedback is important and will be used to support the national fight against COVID-19 is really a boost for our colleagues and our community,” Coots said.

Perna’s visit comes almost two weeks after he apologized for “miscommunication” with states over the number of doses to be delivered in the early stages of distribution.

“I failed. I’m adjusting. I am fixing and we will move forward from there,” Gen. Gustave Perna told reporters in a Dec. 19 telephone briefing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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