One out of three Romanians would refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19, according to an opinion survey conducted on May 13 and 14 by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy, IRES, results of which were published by media on Turesday.
According to the survey, which questioned a sample of over 1,000 adults representative of Romanian society’s composition, four out ten Romanians would accept a vaccine against Covid-19 once it has been tested and approved.
Meanwhile, 33 per cent of the respondents said that they would not get the vaccine under any circumstance.
The results of the survey come against the backdrop of the growing visibility of the anti-vaccine movement in the country.
As Romania’s parliament in February finalised draft legislation that would make vaccination against flu, measles and other long-known infectious diseases mandatory, anti-vaccine groups picketed in Bucharest and other cities to denounce what they see as a health hazard and a state abuse of personal freedoms.
Despite being ready for a final vote, the vaccination legislation has not been voted on in parliament yet, which has raised concerns among medical experts that fear some MPs might backtrack and stop supporting mandatory vaccination because they might lose votes for doing so.
“Amid the pandemic, we realise how important it is that vaccines for infectious diseases exist and that we use them on time,” doctor Alexandru Rafila of the Romanian Society of Microbiology told news channel Digi24 earlier this month.
Rafila warned against “lowering [one’s] guard” against conventional and potentially lethal contagious diseases such as measles, diphtheria and tetanus while focusing on protection against the coronavirus.
He pleaded with the public to use the available vaccines against such diseases and called for the adoption of the law to make vaccination mandatory as soon as possible.
“The vaccination law is absolutely necessary,” Rafila said.
He advised people to get themselves vaccinated against the normal flu this coming autumn, as influenza infections can weaken the organism of vulnerable people, for whom Covid-19 is proving particularly dangerous.
He strongly recommended the flu vaccination for such people, as it will “eliminate one of the two threats” they will face.
According to Rafila, the percentage of Romanians who get vaccinations has decreased between 10 and 15 per cent since 2009, a situation that is not dissimilar from countries like France, Germany and Italy.
Rafia gave the example of measles, which has a vaccination rate of 85 per cent among year-old children of in Romania, but of only 65 per cent in its second phase, administered at the age of five.
He said that this has led to the appearance of close to 20,000 cases and 64 deaths in Romania since a measles epidemic was declared in 2016.
Romania has confirmed more than 17,000 cases of Covid-19 including 1,126 deaths so far.