Romania’s government is using dozens of the country’s best-known athletes and former sport stars in a campaign to combat Covid vaccine hesitancy.
The campaign to persuade more Romanians to take the Covid-19 vaccines gets underway as infection rates and deaths soar amid a deadly fourth wave.
Only 36.2% of Romanians are currently inoculated with skepticism about the actual vaccine and a distrust of authorities cited as the main reasons.
The campaign called “Champions for Life” will target all age groups through social media and will include virtual events where celebrities and athletes will answer lingering questions about the vaccine.
Famous people slated to participate in the campaign include Gabriela Szabo, an Olympic medalist for the 1,500 m and 5,000 m, retired swimmer Camelia Potec, another Olympic gold medalist, former football forward Marius Niculae, fencer Ana-Maria Popescu and gymnast Simona Amânar.
„We want to help the country and try and save lives,” acting sport minister Eduard Novak said. „The situation is very serious, and a lot of people have died unfortunately and very many people will die.”
He said that 47,751 people had died of Covid-19, the size of any average town in Romania. Some 91.2% of people who died with Covid-19 were unvaccinated.
„This confirms that the vaccine is the only way to end this pandemic,” the minister said, Agerpres. reported.
Multiple Olympic medalist and world champion Elisabeta Lipa who is now president of the Romanian Canoeing Federation said Romania’s sporting stars had always set a positive example.
„Romanians are unfortunately experiencing a time I never though they’d see. … We need to show solidarity, be a positive example…. I got a vaccine ever though I had the virus,” she added.
“We have to go back to our old lives, something we all want. I wholeheartedly recommend you get vaccinated. Almost the entire planet is getting inoculated; it’s clear mankind can’t just disappear. Let’s listen to specialists as they know what’s best for us.”