Another 37,578 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 6,941,611, according to official figures released on Saturday.
The country also reported another 120 coronavirus-related deaths, taking the national death toll to 133,161. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test, Xinhua news agency reported.
The latest data came as Britain’s vaccine advisory body announced that coronavirus vaccines for healthy children aged between 12 and 15 should not be recommended.
The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation (JCVI) provided the assessment, saying the vaccine jabs should not be recommended to those in this age group on health grounds alone, but the body has advised the government to look at “wider issues” including the impact of the virus on schooling.
The decision on healthy children was based on concerns over an extremely rare side effect of the Pfizer vaccine which causes heart inflammation, according to the BBC.
A final decision, signed off by the chief medical officers of Britain’s all four nations, is expected next week, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
“COVID-19 cases are likely to increase once schools reopen — in the absence of any COVID-19 restrictions, as children are still unvaccinated and schools are high density, high contact environments, with relatively poor ventilation and long contact duration episodes,” said Julian Tang, honorary associate professor at University of Leicester.
“Risks can be reduced by ideally, in principle, extending the COVID-19 vaccination program to younger children, improving school ventilation, masking the older children and teachers, reducing overall class sizes, staggering break periods, but this may have various practical complications that may be unacceptable to some parents and teachers,” said the clinical virologist.
More than 88 per cent of people aged 16 and over in Britain have had their first vaccine dose and nearly 80 percent have received both, the latest figures showed.