North Korea rejects around 3 million doses of Sinovac vaccine

They also rejected AstraZeneca's vaccines back in July.

Faris Alfiq | September 02, 2021, 01:10 PM

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North Korea has rejected an offer of about three million doses of Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine, according to Unicef (United Nations Children's Fund), Reuters reported.

Unicef manages the supply of vaccines under the COVAX scheme, a global collaboration for equitable distribution of new vaccines.

The isolated country also said the vaccine shots should be sent to countries severely affected by Covid-19.

North Korea further highlighted the limited global supply for vaccines as the virus continues to surge elsewhere in the world.

In another Reuters report, however, Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS), a South Korean think tank affiliated to a spy agency, claimed that North Korea wasn't too eager to receive the Sinovac vaccine as they thought it might be ineffective.

The country has not reported any Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic, it has implemented strict restrictions, including border closures and domestic travel curbs.

However, the strict border controls came at a cost as it has affected trade with China, which the country is highly reliant on for food, fertiliser, and fuel, the BBC reported.

According to Reuters, a spokesperson for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) alliance said that they will "continue to work with DPRK authorities to help respond to the Covid-19 pandemic."

GAVI co-leads the COVAX scheme.

Rejected AstroZeneca's vaccine in July

This was not the first time that North Korea has rejected vaccine supplies.

Back in July, the INSS said that North Korea had rejected planned shipments of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine under the global COVAX distribution scheme, Reuters reported.

The shipment was expected to deliver two million doses of the vaccine.

According to the think tank, North Korea cited concerns over the vaccine's side effects after reports of blood clotting incidents, as the reason for its rejection.

Eyeing Russia's Sputnik V

But North Korea appears to be open to Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine.

According to INSS, the country hopes that shots made in Russia would be donated to them free of charge.

"It's leaning towards the Russian vaccine, yet no arrangements have been made," Lee Sang-keun, director of strategic research on the Korean peninsula at INSS, told Reuters, citing unnamed sources.

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