Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Romanian hospitals fill up with COVID patients amid widespread vaccine refusal

GlobalSep 23, 2021 17:52
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
2/2 © Reuters. A nurse, wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), adjusts the mask that helps Raul Adin, 20, breathe, in the ICU unit for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients at Marius Nasta Institute of Pneumology in Bucharest, Romania, September 22, 2021. Inquam 2/2

By Luiza Ilie and Octav Ganea

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - After living through three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic without getting sick, 55-year-old Roxana Pascu thought that she was healthy enough to withstand the virus and decided to turn down the vaccine.

Now Pascu, who runs a small business, is one of around 1,040 COVID-19 patients currently in intensive care across Romania where cases have more than doubled over the last week and ICU beds are becoming dangerously scarce.

With the second-lowest vaccination rate in the European Union, Romania is bracing for a fourth wave of the pandemic that looks set to overwhelm hospitals where medical staff are already stretched thin.

"I thought that if I made it through three waves without getting infected, I can make it through another one without a vaccine," Pascu said, her voice so weak that she could barely speak.

Whereas the European Union has fully vaccinated 72% of its adult population on the whole, Romania has only managed 34%, exposing entrenched distrust in state institutions, misinformation campaigns, poor rural infrastructure and weak vaccine education.

The government, which eased restrictions despite low vaccine intake, has missed a goal to vaccinate 10 million people by September, with little over 5 million inoculated. About 40% of medical and school staff were not vaccinated and officials have so far stopped short of making it mandatory.

On Wednesday, Romania had only 32 intensive care beds available, and was struggling to add more because of staff shortages. Daily infection rates are nearing a record high of over 10,000 and public health officials this month estimated that Romania could see 15,000-20,000 new daily cases in October.

In capital Bucharest, Beatrice Mahler, the manager of the Marius Nasta Pneumology Institute was trying to staff a mobile intensive care unit.

"At the moment I have great, great problems in opening these beds, because we can't work without staff."

The institute's morgue is also at capacity and is looking to rent mortuary freezers, she said.

"I am scared because I don't know how much we can help if there aren't enough of us," said Anita Timofte, the institute's chief ICU nurse. "I ... suspect there will not be enough room for how many people will be unlucky to get sick."

Restrictions including weekend curfews are being reintroduced in cities and villages with high case numbers. Schools are increasingly moving online.

Along with efforts to find more staff and provide more beds, officials plan to send mobile vaccination units to schools and introduced a lottery with vouchers and cash prizes to boost inoculations.

"What is essential is being able to give specialized medical attention to those who need it. The human resource is what limits us," deputy health minister Andrei Baciu said.

As for Pascu, she plans to get vaccinated after she recovers. So does Raul Adin, a 20-year-old patient gasping for breath through a respirator.

"I 100% plan to get vaccinated," he said.

Romanian hospitals fill up with COVID patients amid widespread vaccine refusal

Related Articles

Poland almost doubles troop numbers on Belarus border
Poland almost doubles troop numbers on Belarus border By Reuters - Oct 19, 2021

WARSAW (Reuters) - Almost 6,000 Polish soldiers are now guarding the country's border with Belarus in stepped up security measures in the face of a surge in migration, the defence...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email