According to the WHO, North Korea is planning to obtain COVID-19 vaccinations from the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility despite delays.
According to Radio Free Asia’s Korean operation, Edwin Salvador, head of the WHO office in Pyongyang, North Korea is “in the process” of meeting the technical specifications required to procure COVID-19 vaccines.
North Korea was to offer 1,992,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a COVAX list in February. The Serum Institute of India’s AstraZeneca vaccines are enough to protect 996,000 people. By March, the figure had been revised to 1,704,000.
Salvador said the WHO is coordinating with the North Korean government.
“The WHO continues to work with [North Korea] in completing these technical requirements and supporting the country to prepare for the receipt of COVID-19 vaccines allocated from the COVAX facility,” the official said without providing details about the technical requirements, according to the report.
According to RFA, Salvador had said in April the vaccines initially were to be supplied to North Korea “before May 2021,” but delays have prevented the doses from reaching the isolated country. Delays have affected all recipient nations, however, Salvador reportedly said.
North Korea continues to report zero cases of the novel coronavirus.
The WHO stated in its Southeast Asia Region Weekly Situation Report for Week 16 that North Korea continues to report “no cases.”
No new cases of COVID-19 have been reported as of April 22, and 50,196 samples have been collected from 25,235 people who were tested for COVID-19, the WHO report said.
“These include 693 persons who were tested during the period of April 16 to April 22,” the report said.
The WHO also said 112 people tested were subjects with “influenza-like illness” or “severe acute respiratory infections.”
The WHO does not have direct access to the North Korean population.