The good news is a given at this point: A Covid-19 vaccine is going to be available to Americans. You will eventually get it if everything stays on its current course. The bad news is that any vaccine that gets approved won’t help you personally for at least months.

I repeat: You will not benefit from the vaccine directly for a good long while, because “a vaccine is approved” isn’t the same as “the pandemic is over.”

I know it’s hard to accept. I get it. We’ve been stuck in purgatory for months, unable to plan for — or even picture — the future. The pandemic has kept us unsure about when — or whether — things will ever be normal again.

With news of an imminent vaccine, the fog is starting to clear. It’s easy to make the mental leap that since things will be much better soon, the danger has abated now. As that’s not the case, it’s probably for the best that you try to forget that a vaccine has been discovered at all. At least for a while.

I don’t mean for this to come across as yet more doom and gloom about Covid-19. On the contrary, it truly is borderline miraculous that we’ve got multiple candidates for a vaccine less than a year after the coronavirus’s existence was first reported to the World Health Organization. And there won’t be much longer to wait before the first rounds of the vaccine are distributed. The Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee focused on vaccines is set to meet Thursday to discuss Pfizer’s request for an emergency use authorization to get its product approved for the market. It will meet again to discuss a similar request from Moderna a week later.

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