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Things We Saw Today: Now You Can Get Vaccinated at Dracula’s Castle

Actor Bela Lugosi lurks as Count Dracula in the movie Dracula

In what is surely the most ingenious vaccination campaign ever conceived, visitors to the famous Bran “Dracula” Castle in Romania can receive both a Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 and free entry to the castle’s display of medieval torture instruments. BRB going to Romania.

The Drac vaxx idea comes as part of the Romanian government’s drive to increase vaccination rates in Romania. According to BBC News, the country has one of the highest vaccine hesitancy rates in Europe, with polls indicating that more than half of Romanians do not wish to be vaccinated. So the Romanian government is kicking things up a notch by offering vaccine incentives coupled with pure vampire-themed fun.

Per The Chicago Sun-Times, “Those brave enough to get a Pfizer vaccine shot receive a “vaccination diploma,” which is aptly illustrated with a fanged medical worker brandishing a syringe.”

An image of Bran Castle in Romania, which is called "Dracula's Castle"

The Bran castle site has been home to some sort of fortification since at least 1212, and in the 1970s became part of a drive to attract tourism to Romania. Though its actual links with Vlad the Impaler and Bram Stroker’s famous novel Dracula are tenuous at best, the towering, atmospheric Transylvanian structure quite fits the bill, and it is now known to vampire-seeking tourists as Dracula’s Castle. Bran Castle perfectly calls to mind Stoker’s description of a looming stronghold situated on a rock with a flowing river below, and it’s easy to imagine gazing from that view and dreaming that a mysterious Count is lurking in the vicinity.

Medics featuring fang stickers on their scrubs are ready to provide Pfizer jabs at Bran, and delightful vampire-themed vaccine branding is everywhere. No appointment is needed (only open to those in Romania for now, alas), and the vaccinations are free. After you’re vaccinated at the castle, you can also enjoy complimentary entry to explore the castle’s “torture rooms” of 52 medieval torture instruments.

“The idea … was to show how people got jabbed 500-600 years ago in Europe,” the castle’s marketing director, Alexandru Priscu told Reuters news agency.

Mr. Priscu’s no doubt tongue-in-cheek remark is maybe the finest marketing pitch I have witnessed. But in all seriousness, Romania is doing a great thing here—offering some levity and incentive regarding the vaccine to those who might be hesitant about it, and even turning the vaccination process into part of an enjoyable sightseeing trip. Other countries and tourist attractions, especially those with significant outdoor space for social distancing, should take note.

In the meantime, if you live in Romania, you can sign up for what will be one of the best vaccination stories to tell for decades (or centuries, if you meet Dracula) to come.

Actor Bela Lugosi as Dracula in his castle

(via BBC News, images: Universal Pictures, Wikimedia Commons)

What else did we see out there today?

  • Comedian John Mulaney and his wife Anna Marie Tendler are divorcing. (via Page Six)
  • We regret to inform you that the NRA is up to its tasteless horrors once again. (via Huffpost)
  • An excerpt from the new YA Marvel novel about Gamora and Nebula! (via io9)
  • How the casting couch continues even in the era of #MeToo. (via Pajiba)
  • Marvel and Disney+ are hoping their new shows can score some awards—here are the campaign posters. (via Screenrant)
  • “How modern science fiction is imagining the future” series (via Polygon)
  • Just going to leave this headline right here: “‘Pro-worker’ Republicans are status-quo toadies cloaked as populists” (via The Guardian)
  • Zack Snyder discusses how his Army of the Dead deconstructs the zombie genre (via ComingSoon)

How are you faring, o fanged children of the night? Let us know in the comments.

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.