More than 300 COVID-19 vaccine candidates have been developed or are still in development. COVID-19 vaccines in the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing and some other COVID-19 vaccine products under conditional approval by national regulatory authorities are already in largescale use, preventing populations from severe illness or death and inducing herd immunity to impact the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In this review, we systemically assess the vaccine efficacy and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials or real-world studies, in various populations, including healthy adults, children, the elderly, pregnancy women, people with cancer, rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, chronic hemodialysis, solid organ transplantation, and so on. In addition, we reviewed the available effectiveness evidence on the immunization strategies of COVID-19 vaccines in those who have previous infection history of SARS-CoV-2, and the enhanced effectiveness associated with various boosting immunization. We also discuss the unmet gaps about the persistence and spectrum of vaccine protection provided by the current available COVID-19 vaccines.