SEOUL -North Korea’s state media cautioned on Tuesday (May 4) that the coronavirus will be a long-term struggle, claiming that vaccines produced by multinational pharmaceutical companies were proving to be “no universal panacea.”
Although no infections have been officially reported, South Korean officials have stated that an epidemic cannot be ruled out because the North had trade and people-to-people ties with China before closing its border early last year.Despite the production of vaccinations, the pandemic, according to the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party, is only getting worse.
“Novel coronavirus vaccines introduced competitively by various countries were once regarded as a glimmer of hope for humanity that could end the fight against this frightening disease,” it added.
“But the situations in many countries are clearly proving that the vaccines are never a universal panacea,” it said, citing news reports of rising numbers of new cases overseas and safety concerns.
It urged people to prepare for a protracted pandemic that called on people to struggle with the anti-virus measures to promote loyalty towards leader Kim Jong Un and his party. It called for a “unforgettable reality”
North Korea was scheduled to receive nearly two million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine through the Covax sharing program by the first half of this year. According to South Korean media, last month, Dr Edwin Salvador, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative for the North, said the shipment had been delayed due to supply shortages, citing the Gavi alliance.
Salvador told Reuters that North Korea was working on the technical criteria for receiving the vaccines, but he didn’t elaborate. Requests for comment to the Gavi alliance, which leads Covax with the WHO, were not immediately returned.