Romania Is Luring People to Dracula’s Castle—Now a Vaccination Site—to Offer Them a Free Jab

Come for your health! And stay for complimentary access to the castle's lovely medieval torture chambers.

Romania's Bran Castle, known as Dracula's Castle, as it is thought to have inspired author Bram Stoker. Photo courtesy of Bram Castle.
Romania's Bran Castle, known as Dracula's Castle, as it is thought to have inspired author Bram Stoker. Photo courtesy of Bram Castle.

Romanian doctors don’t want to suck your blood—but they do want to give you a shot in the arm at Transylvania’s spookily atmospheric Bran Castle, said to be the inspiration for the titular vampire’s home in Bram Stoker’s 19th-century gothic novel Dracula.

On weekends this month, visitors to the historic site can line up for free Pfizer vaccines with no appointments needed, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The shots will be administered on the grounds of the medieval castle, and come with a themed “vaccination diploma” depicting a fanged health care worker holding up a syringe.

(Despite Bran Castle’s association with Dracula in the popular imagination, the real-life inspiration for the character, Vlad the Impaler, almost certainly never set foot in the 14th-century hilltop fortress.)

“We wanted to show people a different way to get the needle,” Alexandru Priscu, the marketing manager at Bran Castle, told the Associated Press. “Besides the diploma, people benefit with free entry to the torture rooms, which have 52 medieval torture instruments.”

A vaccination diploma from Romania's Bran Castle, which is offering shots on weekends this May. Courtesy of Bran Castle.

A vaccination diploma from Romania’s Bran Castle, which is offering shots on weekends this May. Courtesy of Bran Castle.

Nearly 400 people received doses during the first weekend of the vaccination campaign—a number that would likely be higher if foreign tourists were eligible to participate, which they are not.

The country, which is home to 19 million people, is aiming to vaccinate five million residents by the end of the month. So far, 19 percent of the population has had at least one dose, the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford reports.

Around the world, museums and cultural attractions have been pressed into service as vaccination sites, including the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, where you can get your shot surrounded by Claudia Comte wall paintings.

Romania's Bran Castle, known as Dracula's Castle. Photo courtesy of Bram Castle.

Romania’s Bran Castle, known as Dracula’s Castle. Photo courtesy of Bram Castle.

In New York, all U.S. residents are now eligible to get a Moderna shot at the American Museum of Natural History, where health care workers have set up shop in the Hall of Ocean Life beneath the institution’s beloved blue whale model. The jab comes with free museum entry for up to four guests.

Other vaccination incentives across the U.S. include complimentary baseball tickets to see the Mets or Yankees in New York, free Krispy Kreme donuts, and, in Ohio, a $1 million vaccine lottery ticket.


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