North Korea’s admission that it is battling an “explosive” COVID-19 outbreak raised concerns that the virus could devastate a country with an under-resourced health system, limited testing capabilities, and no vaccine program.

North Korea reported the country’s first COVID-19 outbreak on May 12, calling it the “gravest national emergency” and ordering a national lockdown, with state media saying an Omicron variant had been detected in the capital, Pyongyang.

Novavax Inc.’s shares plunged nearly 20 percent in premarket trading on May 10 due to uncertainty over global demand for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine following a slow start to deliveries.

The global vaccine alliance Gavi has secured $4.8 billion in funding pledges for the vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, an official said on Friday, falling just shy of its target.

The global project to share COVID-19 vaccines is struggling to place more than 300 million doses in the latest sign the problem with vaccinating the world is now more about demand than supply.

Novavax Inc. filed for emergency use authorization of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine for U.S. adults, a long-awaited step following months of struggles with development and manufacturing problems.

The chairman of the Gavi vaccine alliance, Jose Manuel Barroso, said on January 19 that an additional $5.2 billion is needed to continue to deliver vaccines at scale.

While wealthier countries have come a long way to boosting their populations with an extra shot of COVID-19 vaccines to protect against Omicron, studies in Israel are evaluating whether a fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine offers additional protection. Although the data is still early, research suggests that it might not. 

The COVAX global vaccine-sharing program has delivered 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, one of the organizations which manages it said on January 15.

The number of new Covid-19 infections dropped during the past month throughout the Americas, even though only 37 percent of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Oct. 6.