A North Korean couple wearing face masks walk along a street in Pyongyang. (Photo: AP-Yonhap)
North Korea has not been cooperating with a United Nations-led global vaccine distribution program to receive help amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released Sunday.
The Voice of America, citing an anonymous source, reported on talks between North Korea and the Gavi vaccine alliance that helps run COVAX, an initiative to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
According to the source, North Korea has completed only two of the seven administrative steps required to get support.
The source also said North Korea has blocked international aid workers, who could facilitate shipment of vaccines, from entering the country out of coronavirus infection concerns.
The VOA report added that the regime has been reluctant to sign a vaccine liability waiver in case of potential side effects.
Gavi announced back in March that it would send 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to North Korea by May.
During a ruling party meeting in Pyongyang last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said a "grave incident" had occurred related to the country's antivirus work, threatening the safety of his people.
Details regarding the grave incident remain unknown.
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