Dracula's Castle in Romania Is Now Offering Free Vaccinations to Visitors
It's not quite the kind of bite that visitors to Bran Castle — better known as Dracula's castle — in Romania might expect, but it does come with a profound effect. On Friday, the castle announced that it's kicking off a COVID-19 vaccination marathon, offering visitors free doses every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in May without an appointment.
The castle, located in the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, 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, the attraction described on its Facebook page.
Further leaning into 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, according to the BBC.
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 Stoker never actually visited the Romanian landmark himself. The fictional title character is often mixed up with the real Vlad Tepes — better known as Vlad the Impaler — who ruled in the 1400s and is often depicted as a "blood-thirsty ruthless despot."
The vaccines are being doled out in the Medieval Custom building on Fridays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. this month. It's all part of the government's effort to get more Romanians vaccinated, since it's one of the nations with the highest rates of hesitancy in Central and Eastern Europe, according to a study by Globsec. As of today, 2,314,812 people — or 11.96% of the country's population — is fully vaccinated, with 5,891,855 doses having been administered, per data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.