(Reuters) – Some European countries are drawing fewer than the approved six doses from Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine vials, while the United States surpassed 400,000 deaths from the virus on Tuesday.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.
* The European Union wants to set up a mechanism that would allow the sharing of surplus vaccines with poorer neighbouring states and Africa, the EU health chief said.
* Britain said it would give COVID-19 shots to up to 2,000 people working in vaccine supply chains, after AstraZeneca requested protection for its workers trying to deliver an ambitious vaccine rollout programme.
* Portugal is living “one of the saddest moments”, the prime minister said, as the daily death toll reached a new record high.
* India will start exporting vaccines from Wednesday, paving the way for many mid- and lower-income countries to get supplies of the easy-to-store Oxford/AstraZeneca drug.
* China defended its early actions taken to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, saying it immediately notified the World Health Organization and took “the most comprehensive, thorough, strict prevention and control measures”.
* Brazil is battling bureaucracy in China to free up exports of active ingredients for vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Sinovac Biotech, three people familiar with talks told Reuters.
* Pfizer told Canada it will receive no vaccines starting the week of Jan. 25, a senior official said.
* The timeline has closed for Venezuela to join the COVAX facility for vaccines, an official with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Kuwait has registered its first cases of a more contagious coronavirus variant in two Kuwaiti women who had been in Britain.
* Nigeria will seek to procure vaccines that are less dependent on cooling facilities, as more than 2,600 Nigerian physicians have contracted COVID-19 and dozens have died.
* A candidate vaccine known as EpiVacCorona, Russia’s second to be registered, proved “100% effective” in early-stage trials, Russian consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has told local media.
* Moderna said it had received a report from California’s health department that several people at a center in San Diego were treated for possible allergic reactions to its COVID-19 vaccine from a particular batch.
* Global equity benchmarks jumped as Janet Yellen used her Treasury Secretary confirmation hearing to bolster the case for additional fiscal stimulus. [MKTS/GLOB]
* EU competition regulators plan to extend looser state aid rules until the end of 2021 to help European companies hit by the pandemic.
* Spain will extend a support scheme for hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed due to COVID-19 until May 31.
* OPEC’s secretary general said he was cautiously optimistic the oil market would recover this year from the slump in demand brought on by the pandemic.
* Government support is keeping roughly one in ten German companies afloat that would otherwise have gone bust during the pandemic, the International Monetary Fund has found.
(Compiled by Devika Syamnath and Veronica Snoj; Editing by Philippa Fletcher and Sriraj Kalluvila)