Photographed by Tyler Mitchell, the cover shows Ms Harris wearing a black trouser suit with Converse trainers while she stands in front of a silk pink curtain against a green background.
In the image, Ms Harris is standing with her legs slightly apart while holding her hands held together in front of her stomach.
A second digital cover has also been released, featuring Ms Harris in a powder-blue suit by Michael Kors with her arms crossed.
The cover look was inspired by those of Harris’ Howard university sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
However, the cover had already been leaked on Twitter, where some users criticised the publication for its depiction of the vice-president elect.
“People, I'll shoot shots of VP Kamala Harris for free using my Samsung and I'm 100 per cent confident it'll turn out better than this Vogue cover,” tweeted one person. “We can shoot it in my yard using natural sunlight and it'll still be better.”
Other critics focused on the styling, with one person tweeting: “Vogue knows Kamala Harris loves her sorority, suits, comfortable pants and chuck taylors. So they just jumbled it all together for the cover. Except they couldn't decide whether she is going to a luxe French salon, the Senate floor, or taking a jog.”
Another person simply said that the standard of the alleged cover was poor, writing: “Folks who don't get why the Vogue cover of VP-elect Kamala Harris is bad are missing the point. The pic itself isn't terrible as a pic. It's just far, far below the standards of Vogue. They didn't put thought into it. Like homework finished the morning it's due. Disrespectful.”
Journalist Yashar Ali tweeted the image and claimed that “according to a source familiar with the publication plans”, it had not been the cover that Ms Harris’s team had expected.
“In the cover that they expected, Vice President-elect Harris was wearing a powder blue suit,” he wrote, possibly referring to the digital cover. “That was the cover that the Vice President-elect's team and the Vogue team, including Anna Wintour, mutually agreed upon... which is standard for fashion magazines,” Ali added.
Many people responded positively to the cover, with one tweeting: “Kamala Harris on the cover of Vogue sends the message that you can be smart, powerful, and beautiful all while being a black woman in America.
"You don’t have to choose just one or two of those qualities at the expense of the others. That’s empowering.”
Another added: “@voguemagazinethis is our Generation!@KamalaHarrisI had a pair of @Converse in middle school! #1984 now this is the #BRAND #GENZ WANTS! My daughter WANT's #CONVERSE I wear leggings with a jacket like that because I'M COMFORTABLE!”
In the accompanying interview, Ms Harris discusses the significance of being the first woman – and the first black person – to be elected vice president.
"I may be the first to do many things—make sure I’m not the last,” she said. “I was thinking of my baby nieces, who will only know one world where a woman is vice president of the United States, a woman of color, a Black woman, a woman with parents who were born outside of the United States.”
The 56-year-old also recalled how, just before the US election results were announced, she had started running a shower.
“Then I looked at my phone, and the texts came that they had called the race, and I ran downstairs to find Doug—never turned off the water,” Harris said referring to her husband, lawyer Doug Emhoff. “Luckily enough there were people in the house. ‘Somebody go turn off the water!’”
The Independent has contacted representatives for Vogue and Ms Harris for comment.
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