The Romanian government has come up with a novel way to encourage people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations; hosting the vaccinations at the castle that supposedly inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula.
The country has seen a reluctance to take up the vaccines among its citizens, despite a speedy rollout compared to its neighbors. Despite campaigns to get people to get the jabs, the percentage of people willing to get vaccinated has only gone up 1 percentage point from October 2020 to March 2021, a report by GLOBSEC found.
The new idea is to turn getting vaccinated against disease into a fun day for all the family. Visitors to Bran Castle will receive a free vaccination, as well as a free tour of the torture museum instruments exhibition, to remind you that getting poked at with a needle isn't so bad when you compare it to having your flesh and bones torn with a "Spanish Tickler". Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
The castle is often cited as the inspiration behind Dracula's castle in Stoker's iconic novel, given its description matches up quite nicely, both placed upon precipices in Transylvania. Stoker isn't known to have traveled there during his lifetime, but could have read descriptions or seen illustrations of the castle, explaining the similarity. Vlad the Impaler (Vlad III Drăculea), who is also said to be the inspiration for Dracula given his habit of torturing his enemies, including impaling thousands of them on spikes, did not rule over Bran Castle, but may have been imprisoned there for several months.
For the whole of May the nightmare castle will be host to vaccinations and people can show up without an appointment. They don't even have to be citizens of Romania. People are largely on board with the idea, bar one or two minor concerns.
"The idea [...] was to show how people got jabbed 500-600 years ago in Europe," the castle's marketing director, Alexandru Priscu, told Reuters.
All vaccinations will be conducted as normal, so beware of any nurses that insist the jab goes in the neck, and be sure to report any unusual side effects (e.g. hissing when you see a cross, aversion to garlic, or a sudden and unexplained desire to murder the Slayer).