The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in an unprecedented public health crisis. There are currently no SARS-CoV-2-specific treatments or vaccines available due to the novelty of the virus. Hence, rapid development of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are urgently needed. Here we developed a pilot-scale production of a purified inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccine candidate (PiCoVacc), which induced SARS-CoV-2-specific neutralizing antibodies in mice, rats and non-human primates. These antibodies neutralized 10 representative SARS-CoV-2 strains, suggesting a possible broader neutralizing ability against SARS-CoV-2 strains. Three immunizations using two different doses (3 μg or 6 μg per dose) provided partial or complete protection in macaques against SARS-CoV-2 challenge, respectively, without observable antibody-dependent enhancement of infection. These data support clinical development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines for humans.