One in three Romanians would refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to survey published on Tuesday.
The survey by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy (IRES) carried out last week also found that that four out of ten Romanians would accept a vaccine against the novel coronavirus provided it had been tested and approved.
Romanian medical experts are urging Parliament to adopt legislation to make vaccination compulsory. The results of the survey published Tuesday come amid growing visibility of the anti-vaccine movement in Romania.
In February, Romania’s Parliament finalized draft legislation that would make vaccination against flu and the measles mandatory.
Anti-vaccination groups protested what they said was a threat to public health and an abuse of individual freedoms.
Parliament has yet to vote on the bill. Medical experts fear some lawmakers may withdraw their support over fear of losing votes.
Alexandru Rafila, the head of the Romanian Microbiology Society, told Digi24 that the law is necessary to make vaccination mandatory as soon as possible.
He strongly recommended the flu vaccination for vulnerable groups to “eliminate one of the two threats” they will face.
According to Rafila, between 10 and 15% fewer Romanians are getting vaccinated since 2009, similar figures to France, Germany and Italy.
He cites measles which has seen some 20,000 cases and 64 deaths in Romania since a measles epidemic was declared in 2016.
Romania has confirmed more than 17,000 cases of Covid-19 and 1,126 deaths.
The survey also showed that almost half of the respondents believe the coronavirus is less dangerous than it is thought to be, while one in five believe it is even more dangerous.
The survey also showed that six out of ten Romanians are willing to get tested for coronavirus in exchange for an “immunity passport.”
Half of those surveyed think the state hid important information during the health crisis, while the percentage believes the state and the media jointly agreed to hide or distort coronavirus-related information.
The survey was carried out by IRES which calls itself an independent think tank on May 13 and 14, and 1,027 respondents were questioned by telephone.