Vaccination is the most effective and feasible way to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The rapid development of effective COVID-19 vaccines is an extraordinary achievement. This study reviewed the efficacy/effectiveness, immunogenicity, and safety profile of the 12 most progressed COVID-19 vaccines and discussed the challenges and prospects of the vaccine-based approaches in a global crisis. Overall, most of the current vaccines have shown safety and efficacy/effectiveness during actual clinical trials or in the real-world studies, indicating a development of pandemic control. However, many challenges are faced by pandemic control in terms of maximizing the effect of vaccines, such as rapid vaccine coverage, strategies to address variants with immune escape capability, and surveillance of vaccine safety in the medium- and long-terms.