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FACTBOX-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

April 8 (Reuters) - The COVAX vaccine facility has delivered nearly 38.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 102 countries and economies across six continents, six weeks after it began to roll out supplies.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news.

EUROPE

* Germany’s vaccine task force will hold talks with the developers of Russia’s Sputnik V shot, including the possibility of setting up more production sites in Germany, a government source told Reuters.

* More than 10 million people in France have now received a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

* Italy’s government is preparing a new stimulus package worth more than 30 billion euros ($35.62 billion) to support its battered economy, driving up this year’s budget deficit, a senior Treasury official said.

AMERICAS

* Brazilian health regulator Anvisa said it has approved the beginning of clinical trials in the country for a new COVID vaccine developed by Canada’s Medicago R&D and GlaxoSmithKline.

* Mexican and Brazilian health regulators said they would not limit use of AstraZeneca’s shot after Britain’s vaccine advisory committee recommended not using it for people under 30.

* The U.S. government will allot nearly 85% less Johnson & Johnson vaccines to states next week, data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Australia said it now recommends people under 50 should get Pfizer’s vaccine in preference to AstraZeneca’s shot, a policy shift that it warned would hold up its inoculation campaign.

* India’s health minister said the country had more than 43 million vaccine doses in stock or in the pipeline, after many states complained of having to close inoculation centres due to a lack of supplies.

* Indonesia is in talks with China to secure as many as 100 million vaccine doses to plug a gap in deliveries after delays in arrivals of AstraZeneca shots, the health minister said.

* The Philippines suspended use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for people below 60 years of age to investigate reports of blood clots from overseas.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Tunisia approved Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, Health minister Faouzi Mehdi said, and will soon receive 1.5 million doses of the vaccine under an African Union plan.

* The New Development Bank of the BRICS group of nations has approved a second $1 billion loan to South Africa’s government to fight the pandemic, the bank said.

* The African Union dropped plans to buy vaccines from the Serum Institute of India and is exploring options with Johnson & Johnson.

* Algeria will start producing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in September in partnership with Moscow, and part of the production will be intended for African countries.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Moderna’s chief medical officer said the company should be able to provide a booster shot for protection against variants by the end of this year.

* The U.S. National Institutes of Health has begun a mid-stage study to determine the risk of allergic reactions to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Stocks in Europe reached record highs, buoyed by optimism in Britain about an easing of lockdown restrictions, while a benign outlook for U.S. interest rates was set to thrust Wall Street to new heights.

* Euro zone bond yields dipped amid uncertainty over the bloc’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, while minutes of the European Central Bank’s March meeting showed policymakers were ready to reduce bond purchases if conditions allowed.

Compiled by Veronica Snoj and Sarah Morland; Editing by Gareth Jones/Mark Heinrich

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