The nucleocapsid (N) and the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the Spike (S) proteins elicit robust antibody and T cell responses either in vaccinated or COVID-19 convalescent individuals. We generated a chimeric protein that comprises the sequences of RBD from S and N antigens (SpiN). SpiN was highly immunogenic and elicited a strong IFNγ response from T cells and high levels of antibodies to the inactivated virus, but no neutralizing antibodies (nAb). Importantly, hamsters and the human Angiotensin Convertase Enzyme-2-transgenic mice immunized with SpiN were highly resistant to challenge with the wild type SARS-CoV-2, as indicated by viral load, clinical outcome, lung inflammation and lethality. This protective immunity was dependent of CD4+ T and CD8+ T cells, but not by transfer of antibody of vaccinated mice. Thus, our experiment provides an example T cell-mediated immunity and reinforce the concept that T cell target antigens other that the S protein maybe considered to improve SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and eventually circumvent the immune scape by variants.