Fact Check: Romanian Government Did NOT Plan To Vaccinate Each Citizen 8 Times

Fact Check

  • by: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Romanian Government Did NOT Plan To Vaccinate Each Citizen 8 Times No Such Target

Did the Romanian government buy 120 million COVID-19 vaccine doses because it planned to vaccinate each citizen eight times? No, that's not true: There is no evidence of intentions to impose mandatory vaccinations on the population at any point.

The claim originated in a video (archived here) on TikTok by user @stop_cenzura on November 28, 2023, featuring a picture of former Romanian Prime Minister Florin Cîțu and the caption (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff) "Romania's terrorists are still free!" The recording captures the voice of far-right senator Diana Șoșoacă stating:

120 million vaccine doses for 15 million people living in Romania - this means they want to give you 8 shots! ... 120 million doses for a flu with a recovery rate of 99,77%!

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

Screenshot 2023-12-04 at 16.07.49.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Dec 4 14:04:03 2023 UTC)

Romania didn't order 120 million vaccine doses, but approximately 80 million, according to Health Minister Alexandru Rafila. From this total, the country has received 35 million doses thus far, with 20 million doses administered, he confirmed. The National Health Institute, in its report at the end of November 2023, indicated that almost 17 million vaccine doses had been given. The minister clarified that the variance stems from vials containing multiple doses that were eventually discarded due to expiration.

Apart from these, approximately 10 million unused doses have either expired or are nearing expiration, leading to their disposal. The state had made an initial payment of just over 500 million euros ($546 million) for all the vaccines; Romania's vaccine procurement is currently under investigation by anti-corruption prosecutors. The focus of the investigation is on state wastefulness, not the intention to vaccinate. The government also never indicated an intention to vaccinate Romanians eight times, as vaccination was never mandatory, but voluntary.

COVID is not as benign as the flu. Lead Stories has debunked several versions of this claim. Lead Stories has also highlighted that a 1 percent fatality rate is not considered low for any infectious disease.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  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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