Spain has warned mandatory face masks and social distancing measures could continue until 2022

An effective vaccine could take at least two years to develop (Photo: Shutterstock)

Holidaymakers are likely to have to continue wearing face masks and observing social distancing guidance in Spain until 2022, experts have warned.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Coronavirus restrictions are expected to remain in force until an effective vaccine has been developed, which could take as long as two years.

How long will a vaccine take?

The average development period for vaccines to be rolled out on a large scale can often take up to a decade to complete, María Jesús Lamas, director of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) has warned.

However, Ms Lamas said she was confident that an effective vaccine against coronavirus could be developed in a shorter time frame, and may be available by 2022.

She told The Sun that AEMPS already has data to ensure there will be a safe and effective vaccine within two years’ time, but it would need to “scale up production to a level never seen before.”

Such a large scale production is needed to produce enough of the vaccine to inoculate at least five billion people.

When will face masks no longer be needed?

Health Minister Salvador Illa has previously warned that face masks will need to be worn in Spain until the virus has been permanently eradicated - in other words, when an effective treatment or vaccine is developed.

While a coronavirus vaccine is still in development, regions across Spain have enforced the wearing of face masks to help contain the spread and avoid any spike in infections.

Catalonia, Majorca, Benidrom and Ibiza, are among the regions where face masks must be worn in all public spaces, including beaches and swimming pools.

Several areas are also enforcing sunbathing zones and pre-booked entry slots to access beaches, in an effort to limit capacity.

What is the progress on a vaccine?

A vaccine that is currently in development at Oxford University has shown “extremely promising” results in trials so far, with scientists claiming it may offer a “double defence” against coronavirus.

Phase one of the human trials have shown that the vaccine does generate an immune response against Covid-19, but it is not yet known whether it provides long-lasting immunity.