Another 30,825 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 7,256,559, according to official figures released Monday.
The country also recorded another 61 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 134,261. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.
The latest data came as the chief medical officers (CMOs) of Britain’s all four nations announced that they would be advising that children aged from 12 to 15 to get a coronavirus vaccine.
England’s CMO Chris Whitty said they came to their decision after considering “what effect this will have on transmission in schools and effects on education”.
“It’s a useful tool to reduce the disruption,” he added. It is expected the vaccinations will be given through school immunization program.
Healthy children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine and the rollout should begin “as soon as possible”, England’s deputy CMO Jonathan Van-Tam was quoted by Sky News as saying.
There are concerns of a rise in cases following children’s return to schools after the summer holiday. The latest decision takes into account the impact of the pandemic on children’s education as well as the risks to their mental health from missing school.
The move means that around 3 million children could be eligible for the jab and comes despite Britain’s vaccine advisory body deciding not to recommend mass vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds.
Previously, Britain’s vaccine advisory body, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), has issued the advice that children aged 12 to 15 with medical conditions should receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, but that healthy children in this age group should still not receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
In its advisory report, the JCVI said the “individual” health benefits from vaccination for children aged 12 to 15 is marginal, while the risk of potentially serious side effects, including myocarditis, is “very rare, but potentially serious”.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the government wants to avoid the introduction of COVID vaccine passports in England “if we possibly can”, but added they would be an option to be kept “in reserve”.
More than 89 percent of people aged 16 and over in Britain have had their first dose of vaccine and nearly 81 percent have received both doses, the latest figures showed.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.