BUCHAREST, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Thousands of Romanians queued outside a Bucharest hospital to take anti-flu shots on Saturday, spurred into action by the death of a television actor.
“A star had to die to make Romanians identify themselves with the victim and realise that they are at risk if not immunised,” Adrian Streinu-Cercel, the hospital director told private television station Realitatea TV. Toni Tecuceanu, 37, well known for playing satiric parts in television shows, died on Tuesday following lung complications after contacting the H1N1 flu virus.
“This is a sort of hysteria,” psychologist Florin Tudose said.
Romania, which has recorded 6,061 cases of infection and 82 deaths, began a mass vaccination campaign last year but less than one percent of the 22 million population has been immunised, in large part because people are reluctant and because of poor infrastructure.
At least 12,220 deaths from H1N1 flu formally had been confirmed around the globe as of Dec. 27, the World Health Organisation has said.
Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Michael Roddy