North Korea rejects 2.97 million Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine doses: UNICEF

Seoul, Sep 2 (EFE).- North Korea refused 2.97 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac, a United Nations Children’s Fund spokeswoman in charge of managing the jab supply to the country through the COVAX initiative told EFE on Thursday.

According to the spokeswoman, North Korea’s Public Health Ministry said the 2.97 million doses manufactured by the Chinese laboratory “that COVAX offers to [North] Korea can be transferred to seriously affected countries in view of the limited global supply of vaccines.”

The country, which has not yet received a single batch of vaccines, “has said it will continue to communicate with COVAX to receive Covid-19 vaccines in the coming months.”

The spokeswoman said the organizations involved “continue to work closely with competent health authorities in North Korea to prepare the receipt of their first vaccines.

UNICEF is assisting North Korea in preparing the cold chains necessary to distribute, store and inject coronavirus vaccines.

The country, which has closed its borders since last year to prevent the entry of the virus, still has not reported a single Covid-19 infection.

In its latest report to the World Health Organization, Pyongyang said it had tested 37,291 people until Aug. 19, and that all results had been negative.

North Korea should have received 1.9 million vaccines from AstraZeneca in the first half of this year through the COVAX program.

However, those vaccines were never delivered after the regime did not accept technical recommendations from COVAX, a fund created to ensure the delivery of vaccines to countries most in need.

The Institute of National Security Strategy, a think tank of the South Korean intelligence service, published a report in July which said Pyongyang rejected this first batch “due to its fears about the secondary effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine. ”

The same report said “North Korea is reluctant about vaccines made in China” and seems to have a more favorable view of those made in Russia. EFE


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