Pyongyang is apparently determined to stick to its story that North Korea has yet to see a single case of COVID-19 within its borders. A United National spokesperson said the country turned down an offer of about 3 million doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine. Instead, its public health ministry has insisted the shipment be rerouted to nations more “severely affected” by the pandemic.
Though North Korea, which reacted quickly to the outbreak of the virus by sealing its borders in January 2020, maintains that they have had zero cases of the virus, analysts are doubtful. Whether or not the nation is lying, it has rejected every offer of help. In July, under the global COVAX initiative, they declined 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, citing concerns about potential side effects. The same month, Russia’s foreign minister said Moscow had made multiple overtures to supply North Korea with the Sputnik vaccine; it’s unclear if the offers were accepted.