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North Korea rejects AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns about side effects

Saturday’s Sankei wrote that the Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS), a think tank affiliated with South Korea’s national security agency, released an analytical report on Friday saying North Korea has rejected planned shipments of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine that were being organized under the global COVAX distribution scheme due to concerns about side effects. COVAX had decided to provide nearly 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to North Korea and ship most of them in May. The INSS speculated that Pyongyang has yet to obtain any COVID-19 vaccines. The institute reckons it would be difficult for North Korea to handle COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer or Moderna in areas other than large cities because the power supply in rural areas is not stable enough to run the special refrigeration equipment to store the vaccines.

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