Kim orders tougher virus steps after N. Korea shuns vaccines

By HYUNG-JIN KIM and KIM TONG-HYUNG Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered officials to wage a tougher epidemic prevention campaign in "our style" after he turned down some foreign COVID-19 vaccines offered via the U.N.-backed immunization program.

State media said Kim told a Politburo meeting the task of virus prevention was "of paramount importance" and needed material and technical support and qualified health workers.

North Korea earlier this week told the U.N. that its allotment of Sinovac doses should be sent to countries with severe outbreaks.

Its allotment of AstraZeneca doses is delayed.

Some experts believe North Korea may want other vaccines and may want to distribute them strategically within its population.

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