Fact Check: Romanian Authorities Did NOT Declare A Measles Epidemic To Forcefully Vaccinate All Children

Fact Check

  • by: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Romanian Authorities Did NOT Declare A Measles Epidemic To Forcefully Vaccinate All Children Optional Vax

Did the Romanian authorities declare a measles epidemic at the beginning of December 2023, to forcefully vaccinate all children? No, that's not true: the Romanian Ministry of Health made this decision in response to the registration of over 2,000 cases and explained this would facilitate accelerated vaccination for children between 9 and 11 months of age. The vaccine, however, remains optional.

The claim originated from a video published on TikTok by user @5news.ro on December 6, 2023 (archived here) with the Romanian title, translated into English by Lead Stories staff that reads "Compulsory vaccination." The video opened:

They want to vaccinate all children! Officially, Romania has declared a measles outbreak, but with what purpose? Clearly, to have a legal basis to vaccinate all children as soon as possible.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-12-14 at 14.35.35.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Dec 14 12:16:08 2023 UTC)

On December 5, 2023, a press release from the Ministry of Health clarified that the outbreak declaration, prompted by 2,000 infections across 29 counties, aimed to streamline vaccination efforts. The focus was on children aged 9 to 11 months, as well as those who were either unvaccinated or had an incomplete vaccination schedule. Health Minister Alexandru Rafila told journalists that this measure would enable infants over 9 months to receive the vaccine earlier than advised by the national vaccination calendar.

Simultaneously, the Ministry plans to initiate an awareness campaign targeting parents and general practitioners, addressing the vaccination schedule amidst a decline in vaccination rates among children.

However, none of these measures indicate an intention by authorities to mandate vaccinations for children of all ages. Romania relies on vaccination recommendations outlined in the national schedule, as there is no legislation enforcing vaccinations for infants or adults.

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  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018,  she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards.

Read more about or contact Ioana Burtea

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