The year 2020 started with the emergence of novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19 infection. Soon after the first evidence was reported in Wuhan, China, the World Health Organization declared global public health emergency and imminent need to understand the pathogenicity of the virus was required in limited time. Once the genome sequence of the virus was delineated, scientists across the world started working on the development of vaccines. Although, some laboratories have been using previously developed vaccine platforms from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS) and middle east respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus and apply them in COVID-19 vaccines due to genetic similarities between coronaviruses. We have conducted a literature review to assess the background and current status of COVID-19 vaccines. The worldwide implementation and strategies for COVID-19 vaccine development are summarized from studies reported in years 2015-2020. While discussing the vaccine candidates, we have also explained interpretative immune responses of SARS-CoV-2 infection. There are several vaccine candidates at preclinical and clinical stages; however, only 42 vaccines are under clinical trials. Therefore, more industry collaborations and financial supports to COVID-19 studies are needed for mass-scale vaccine development. To develop effective vaccine platforms against SARS-CoV-2, the genetic resemblance with other coronaviruses are being evaluated which may further promote fast-track trials on previously developed SARS-CoV vaccines.