FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Romanian Anti-COVID-19 Vaccine Protest?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Instagram purportedly shows a demonstration against COVID-19 vaccination in Romania.

Verdict: False

The video shows a 2017 anti-corruption protest in Romania.

Fact Check:

The Sept. 22 Instagram video shows an aerial view of a huge crowd of people, many of whom appear to be holding bluish-white lights. “This is WHAT’S POSSIBLE with people power,” reads the post’s caption. “The Romanian government has CLOSED all vaccine centres because 70% of the citizens won’t get the jab. Coercion did not work!” (RELATED: Did 7News Report That The Australian Government Is Putting All Citizens Who Remain Unvaccinated By The End Of The Year Into ‘Isolation Camps’?)

While some Romanians have participated in anti-vaccination protests, the scene in the footage has nothing to do with COVID-19 and took place before the pandemic began. The Romanian state-owned broadcaster TVR posted a longer version on YouTube in February 2017 with a caption that explains it shows demonstrators assembled in Bucharest’s Victory Square to decry an emergency ordinance that, according to The New York Times, “effectively decriminalized some low-level corruption offenses.” Victoria Palace, which houses the Romanian Prime Minister and his cabinet, is adjacent to Victory Square and is visible in the extended clip shared on YouTube.

The claim that Romania’s government has shuttered every COVID-19 vaccination center is likewise inaccurate. Authorities did announce on July 6 that they had closed 117 such facilities and scheduled reductions for 371 others due to declining demand for the vaccine, the Associated Press reported. However, dozens of centers remain open, according to a map on the Romanian government’s website.

About 34 percent of adults in Romania had been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Sept. 23, according to Reuters. Only one country in the European Union has a lower rate of vaccination, the outlet reported.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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