There are now three vaccines provided on an "emergency basis." Normally, these would have been subjected to large-scale testing to make sure of their effectiveness, after-effects, and durability. Because we were faced with a very dangerous pandemic, vaccines were pressed into service without such testing. I would have taken too long. Even with accelerated testing and better than 10 billion dollars spent, the most optimistic forecast by scientists is that we will not see fully approved vaccines before we are several months into next year.
THE BIG IFS: IF we follow the basic steps to eradicate the virus, and IF at least one vaccine is proven effective and lasting, we are probably another 6 months away from a more normal existence. It takes time to test new vaccines to prove that they work at all, determine if they are safe, and how long they protect. All of this can be scuttled if the a substantial population dosn’t support the science.
Much progress has been made as time passes and enough people become fully vaccinated with many restrictions being lifted. In many instances, such "normallizing" has been quickly followed by a spike in hospitallizations and deaths. To be safe, it is recommended that we continue to observe social distancing,wear masks when recommended, and continue handwashing. Even those who are "fully vaccinated" should strive to understand the behaviors that will keep them safe.