Edwin Salvador, head of the WHO office in Pyongyang, said Tuesday that North Korea is "in the process" of complying with the technical requirements needed to obtain COVID-19 vaccines, Radio Free Asia's Korean service reported.
In February, a list from COVAX showed North Korea was to receive 1,992,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The AstraZeneca vaccines from the Serum Institute of India are enough to cover 996,000 people. By March, that number was adjusted to 1,704,000.
Salvador said the WHO is coordinating with the North Korean government.
"The WHO continues to work with [North Korea] in completing these technical requirements and supporting the country to prepare for the receipt of COVID-19 vaccines allocated from the COVAX facility," the official said without providing details about the technical requirements, according to the report.
According to RFA, Salvador had said in April the vaccines initially were to be supplied to North Korea "before May 2021," but delays have prevented the doses from reaching the isolated country. Delays have affected all recipient nations, however, Salvador reportedly said.
North Korea continues to report zero cases of the novel coronavirus.
The WHO stated in its Southeast Asia Region Weekly Situation Report for Week 16 that North Korea continues to report "no cases."
No new cases of COVID-19 have been reported as of April 22, and 50,196 samples have been collected from 25,235 people who were tested for COVID-19, the WHO report said.
"These include 693 persons who were tested during the period of April 16 to April 22," the report said.
The WHO also said 112 people tested were subjects with "influenza-like illness" or "severe acute respiratory infections."
The WHO does not have direct access to the North Korean population.