North Korea is one of just a few countries in the world to not have recorded any cases of COVID-19 to the WHO
North Korea, which is yet to have recorded a single case of the coronavirus, is expected to be receiving nearly two million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the vaccine-sharing programme, known as COVAX, the Asian nation has been allocated 1,992,000 doses of the vaccine for the first half of 2021.
The supply will be coming from the 240 million doses licensed to the Serum Institute of India, which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.
COVAX, which has secured coronavirus vaccines for poor countries, is co-led by the GAVI alliance and the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
This comes after 180 soldiers in the North Korean army had reportedly been killed by COVID-19 back in early March of 2020, leaving the world to wonder the true extent of damage caused by the outbreak in the country.
North Korea is one of just a few countries in the world, the majority of which are Pacific Ocean islands, not to have recorded even a single case of the coronavirus to the WHO.
Turkmenistan is the only other country that has a land border with another nation to have not recorded a single COVID-19 case.
However, doubt has been cast on both North Korea and Turkmenistan’s COVID-free claims due to their reputation for heavy state censorship.
North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong Un, sealed its border with China – the country’s main benefactor – early last year and has since enforced lockdowns in some regions in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In July, he hailed his nation’s “shining success” in dealing with the pandemic and said his country had “prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable situation”.
The measures are estimated to have had a devastating impact on its already fragile economy.
This comes after Over 80 suspected members of a Chinese criminal group that had been manufacturing and selling fake COVID-19 vaccines, including to other countries, have been arrested in China. Police in the capital Beijing, as well as in Jiangsu and Shandong provinces, broke up the group which was producing a simple saline solution that was being sold as fake vaccines.
North Korea’s ruling principle of self-reliance had previously led to doubts it would participate in global vaccination efforts.
There had even been recent reports it was developing its own COVID vaccine with information hacked from foreign scientists.
It has also been claimed that Kim Jong-un and his family have already been provided with an experimental vaccine by China.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 104 million coronavirus cases across the world, with more than 86 million vaccine doses now having been administered globally.