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Senator reveals her daughter among 17 new Canberra infections


Labor senator Katy Gallagher wants to see more teenagers vaccinated against coronavirus after her 14-year-old daughter contracted the disease.

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The ACT senator’s household is in strict quarantine after Evie contracted the virus as part of Canberra’s outbreak.

“She’s a 14-year-old girl, she’s feeling very scared and alone and it’s hard,” Senator Gallagher told Sky News on Wednesday.

The chair of the parliamentary committee looking at the COVID-19 response feels angry that Australian young people have been let down.

“The way the vaccine’s been out, the shambles … I look at Evie lying in her bed trying to fight this virus and I just can’t stop the feeling that we’ve let her down,” she said.

“My son’s in the next room and I’m desperately hoping he’s not going to catch it.”

Gallagher and her partner are fully vaccinated.

Only vulnerable children between the ages of 12 and 15, including those with impaired immune systems, are eligible for Pfizer vaccines.

Gallagher used her daughter’s case, one of 17 announced in Canberra on Tuesday, to push for the greater vaccination of teenagers.

“I think any parent is worried about their children and there is no plan at the moment for teenagers,” she told ABC radio.

The ACT’s outbreak has grown to 45 cases encompassing schools including Lyneham High.

No coronavirus patients are in hospital as more than 7500 people quarantine and the city’s lockdown extends until September 2.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison is keeping an open mind on a fortnight-long parliamentary sitting scheduled to start on Monday.

“No decision has been taken other than parliament would normally proceed next Monday,” he told reporters.

Parliament House is considered an essential workplace and able to remain open under ACT health orders, albeit with tight restrictions.

Given many MPs and senators from interstate had remained in Canberra following last week’s sitting, there won’t be a problem getting a quorum to meet.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr had asked the federal government to consider postponing the sitting.

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