People think that the vaccine will be a silver bullet and magically return America to the world before the pandemic. That's wishful thinking. Here's why:
Timing - most vaccines take ten years to be released. Right now, we have over 150 vaccines under developed, with several in human clinical trials. When experts say 12-18 months, they don't mean December 2020. They mean summer 2021 or later, best case scenario. And we've never seen a vaccine developed that quickly, ever. Let's not kid ourselves.
Efficacy: Will the vaccine grant lifelong immunity, or will immunity weaken in a few years? Vaccines are not 100% effective, and the immunity would likely be short-lived and incomplete. It may not stop asymptomatic forms of the virus, which would not stop transmission. We don't know if Covid creates immunity to long term infection, and if immunity will last for a long amount of time. Again, vaccines are not 100% effective, and just another tool in the arsenal.
Distribution and availability: We still don't covid testing capacity we need, after months and months. We would need billions of vaccines to achieve vaccine level herd immunity world wide. We don't have the infrastructure to do that right now. We also need to decide who to prioritize and decide who would get the vaccine first.
Public health responses: Can we keep up pandemic control measures until, and after, a vaccine arrives? Outside of a few places, Americans gave up on controlling the virus. Are Americans really going to social distance for the next 12-18 months? Absolutely not.
Antivaxxers: the final boss. A large percentage of Americans, probably in the 25% range, do not believe in taking vaccines. They will refuse to take the vaccine and prevent America from gaining herd immunity and get life back to normal. AP research shows around 50% of Americans are willing to get the vaccine. If Americans aren't even willing to wear face masks, they're not going to get stuck with a needle to get a hastily developed vaccine. And if the vaccine is Chinese, forget about it.
Buckle up, this is going to be a rough year or two, the virus isn't going anywhere, and the vaccine won't save America. The tide is out, and all of America is swimming naked. We spend $750,000,000,000 each year on our military but have 150,000 Americans dead on our soil in just a few months. Ironic.