Do you dare? Romania’s Dracula Castle offers free COVID-19 vaccines to visitors

By Sayujya S, Desk Reporter
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Dracula Castle Image
The Bran Castle which is popularly known as the Dracula Castle

Doctors at the Bran Castle, better known as Dracula’s castle as it is believed to be the inspiration for the vampire novel of the same name, in Europe’s Romania are offering visitors the opportunity to get vaccinated at the site.

The COVID-19 vaccination marathon, announced recently, offers visitors free doses every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in May without an appointment.

The castle hopes to lure more travelers with shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, calling it “another kind of sting.” Admission to the castle is not required to receive a shot, and those who get it will earn a “diploma” saying that they were vaccinated at Bran Castle. Visitors who do also pay for castle admission will gain free access to the special exhibit on medieval torture tools.

A safe but spooky visit

Dracula Castle Image
A banner reading “Who’s afraid of vaccine” in Romanian and depicting syringes as vampire fangs advertises the vaccination marathon

In line with the location’s theme, the campaign’s imagery features a photo of fangs replaced by needles and a nurse with fangs ready to inject a dose. Plus, the on-site medics administering the shots have fang stickers on their scrubs to add to the effect.

Visitors are required to follow all coronavirus safety measures, including using hand sanitizer, wearing a mask, and keeping a distance of two meters (about six and a half feet) from others, according to the castle’s site.

The medieval castle, which was completed in 1388, is thought to be the inspiration for Irish author Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, “Dracula,” though Mr. Stoker never actually visited the Romanian landmark himself.

Getting more residents vaccinated

The campaign is a part of the government’s effort to get more Romanians vaccinated, since it’s one of the nations with the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy in Central and Eastern Europe, according to a study. According to most recent data, 2,314,812 people or 11.96 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, with 5,891,855 doses having been administered, per data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

“The idea was to show how people got jabbed 500-600 years ago in Europe,” the castle’s marketing director, Mr. Priscu said. During the first weekend of the month, nearly 400 people took advantage of the vaccination offer at the castle and scores of foreigners have also expressed an interest in getting jabbed at the supernatural setting. But Mr. Priscu said that only Romanian residents are eligible for the vaccination offer.

Organizers also hope the spooky campaign will draw an increased number of attendees to the 14th-century castle, which has seen tourist numbers fall during the pandemic.

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