Covid-19: Pyongyang rejects AstraZeneca vaccines
The North Korean regime does not even want Chinese-made vaccines and has turned to Moscow, asking for free supplies. The country has not yet received the doses provided by the Covax program. Cases on the rise in the South: Seoul sets highest level of restrictions
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - North Korea has rejected the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Beijing due to concerns about potential side effects, turning instead to Moscow for Russian-made drugs. The South Korean Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS) reports that North Koreans are reluctant to use Chinese vaccines due to a lack of confidence in their safety and effectiveness.
"As North Korea has rejected the vaccines planned to be supplied through COVAX due to worries over side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine, it has explored possibilities of securing alternatives drugs," the INSS said in a report. "North Korea stays reluctant with regard to Chinese-made vaccines due to distrust over the drugs," it added. "It appears to have positive assessments of Russian-made products but be asking for their supplies free of charge."
The Inss went on to specify that even if North Korea were to receive the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, it would not have the capacity to keep them at the necessary temperature in cold storage due to the country's chronic electricity shortage.
Through Covax, the Korean regime was supposed to receive about 2 million doses, but they have not yet been delivered. According to a Seoul government official, the delay may be related to the North's failure to establish a national vaccination plan.
Pyongyang says it has not registered any cases of Covid-19; however, Kim Jong-un's regime has imposed strict border controls and travel restrictions. In South Korea cases are again on the rise: yesterday 1,316 new infections were recorded and from July 12 the capital Seoul and surrounding areas will return to the highest level of emergency in an attempt to bring down the infection rate.