The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has driven unprecedented efforts in vaccine research and development against the etiologic agent SARS-CoV-2. The usual timeframe for vaccine development, 5-10 years, has been reduced to 12-18 months, and in the past 8 months, roughly 200 vaccine development projects have been initiated. 24 vaccines are in human clinical trials, and Phase III activity has started for 2-3 candidate vaccines and will soon start for several more. While many are cautiously optimistic that we may prove that at least one vaccine is safe and effective, we cannot guarantee the timeframe, the durability of protection, or the long-term safety of these regimens. We will review the major published data from vaccine clinical trials and put them into the context of what is known or hypothesized about relevant immune responses and potential safety concerns. Finally we will address issues of manufacturing, access, and uptake that may profoundly affect the ability of COVID-19 vaccines to return us to the “old” normal.