North Korea rejects offer of 3m Covid vaccine doses because they have ‘no cases’

North Korea has reportedly rejected three million vaccine doses from China, with the capital Pyongyang maintaining that the country has not registered a single Covid case.

North Korea suggested China distribute the vaccines among other low income countries in need, UNICEF said on Wednesday.

The organisation added that China had offered Sinovac Biotech vaccines.

Despite severe doubt from experts, North Korea has said it hasn't registered a single Covid case because of strict measures including quickly closing its borders after the worldwide outbreak and putting restrictions on domestic travel.

Reuters reported that a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund said that the ministry will continue to communicate with the Covax facility to receive vaccines over the coming months.

Covax is a worldwide initiative aimed at providing access to Covid-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization.

In July North Korea knocked back a shipment of AstraZeneca jabs from Covax, that time because of concerns over side effects.

Covax said it was preparing to send two million doses to North Korea by May. The country said in June that the first batch was delayed due to protracted consultations.

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Mongolia, Bahrain and Seychelles were among some other countries that expressed concerns over the safety of Chinese-made vaccines, despite having access to them.

Reuters reported that North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, had rejected the Chinese vaccines because they were concerned that they weren't effective.

Other countries, like Thailand and Uruguay, have started offering other vaccines for residents that received the Sinovac shot as their first dose.

The same title said that North Korea had expressed interest in Russian vaccines.

“We continue to work with DPRK authorities to help respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,” a spokesman for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation alliance, part of the Covax scheme, said.

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