London, Sep 7 (IANS) Britain has recorded more than 7 million Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest official data released on Monday.
The country reported another 41,192 cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the national caseload to 7,018,921, official figures showed, Xinhua news agency reported.
The coronavirus-related death toll in the country rose by 45 to 133,274. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.
The latest data came as a final decision on whether to vaccinate healthy children aged between 12 and 15 -- to be signed off by the chief medical officers of Britain's all four nations -- is expected this week, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, has said parental consent will be required if the government decides all 12 to 15-year-olds should be offered the jab.
However, a senior doctor has suggested that a school nurse or general practitioner (GP) could assess whether a child is capable of consenting to having the vaccine, even if their parents oppose it.
"Some children as young as 12 should be allowed to overrule their parents on whether they have the Covid vaccine," David Strain was quoted by Sky News as saying.
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 Covid-19 vaccine doses, but that healthy children in this age group should still not receive the vaccine.
The JCVI's 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.
"This decision will disappoint many, as this age group is particularly socially active -- they have more contacts with other people than other age groups other than young adults," said Peter English, immediate past chair of the Public Health Medicine Committee of the British Medical Association.
"As such, they are particularly effective as 'vectors', transmitting the infection between households. Now that the much more infectious Delta variant is prevalent we will struggle to control the virus with vaccination alone -- and we certainly won't succeed if this age group is unvaccinated," said the retired consultant in Communicable Disease Control.
More than 88 per cent of people aged 16 and over in Britain have had their first vaccine dose and nearly 80 per cent have received both, according to the latest figures.