The Wall Street Journal said Pyongyang rejected the doses from COVAX, a global initiative that funnels donated vaccines from richer nations to poorer ones.
North Korea said the doses should be “relocated to severely affected countries,” a spokeswoman for UNICEF, which assists COVAX, told the Journal for a Wednesday report.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his reclusive nation have not reported any coronavirus cases. Experts say it is unclear whether the dictator is pushing propaganda or if the poor country is reeling from the pandemic like everyone else.
North Korea sealed its borders to try to keep the pathogen out, and Mr. Kim has repeatedly reminded senior leaders to remain vigilant against the virus.
In June, Mr. Kim said lapses in the country’s approach to COVID-19 sparked a “crisis” and “grave consequences,” though it was unclear if there was an actual outbreak.