COVAX removes all COVID-19 vaccines allocated to North Korea: global charity
A North Korean flag flies next to an accordion wire at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 9, 2017. (File photo – REUTERS)
North Korea no longer has any COVID-19 vaccines allocated to its people under the COVAX Facility initiative, an international group co-leading the vaccine-sharing program confirmed on Friday.
The announcement came amid a prolonged setback in shipping efforts, apparently attributable to lack of cooperation from the country’s reclusive regime.
“COVAX currently has no concrete allocation for the DPRK,” a spokesperson for the Gavi vaccine alliance told Yonhap news agency, using the acronym for the official name of the North, People’s Republic. Democratic Republic of Korea.
Vaccines that were not accepted by the North were “reallocated to other countries so that the doses could be used in a timely manner”, the official added, citing the organization’s 2022 policy of “allocations vaccines as needed.
The United Nations Children’s Fund’s COVID-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard also showed no vaccines were allocated to the North on Friday morning, reflecting COVAX’s decision to cut 1.29 million doses. of AstraZeneca vaccines previously reserved for Pyongyang.
The spokesperson, however, said, “We will offer doses to the DPRK in future allocation rounds if the country decides to introduce the COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the national pandemic response.”
North Korea has so far not responded to the offer, claiming to be coronavirus-free, with strict border controls in place against the pandemic.
In February, COVAX reportedly canceled a batch of 252,000 Covovax vaccines developed by Novavax Inc. allocated to Pyongyang.
“Gavi and COVAX continue to engage with the DPRK to operationalize the COVID-19 vaccination program,” the spokesperson said. (Yonhap)