Senator Katy Gallagher lashes slow vaccine rollout after daughter contracts COVID-19

Ian Bushnell and Genevieve Jacobs 19 August 2021 68
Katy Gallagher in PPE

Senator Katy Gallagher in PPE at home. Photo: Instagram.

A mother’s anger has boiled over on national television as ACT Senator Katy Gallagher slammed the Federal Government for its slow vaccine rollout after revealing her teenage daughter Evie has contracted COVID-19.

“When I saw the fear in her eyes, her red cheeks and fever, that shaped my decision to speak out,” she told Region Media.

“There is nothing to protect these kids because there wasn’t enough supply of vaccine and there wasn’t enough urgency.”

Senator Gallagher said that it would not have been her initial decision to go public, but as the rumour mill went into overdrive, she felt her family had little choice.

“Overwhelmingly, there have been lovely people just giving support,” she said of the response. “It is actually really comforting and appreciated. A lot of parents have been saying thank you for voicing the concerns we all have.

“There’s clearly an undercurrent of anxiety among parents who are worried about what’s happening to their kids. I’ve had a minority of people saying I shouldn’t use my kids for political purposes, but I don’t want to feel shamed or for Evie to be some pariah.”

While quite unwell, Senator Gallagher says that her daughter has been cheered by the messages of support and contact from friends and schoolmates.

“The point was not to feel sorry for me and my family personally. This is the reality of what’s happening in households right across Australia. We need more urgency and vaccine supply to get the job done.

“People are being left completely unprotected and I think my story has tapped into that parental concern about keeping your kids safe. I couldn’t feel like I’d done that for Evie.

“Something has really gone wrong when millions are in lockdown, your child is sick, and the best you can do is put on a mask and give them some Nurofen.”

Senator Gallagher said that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for use on 12 to 15-year-olds on 23 July, but is currently only being used for children with serious underlying immune issues.

Earlier, she told the ABC that after such a good start at dealing with the pandemic, young people had been left vulnerable and that the government had let them and their parents down.

“People in government have got to take it seriously,” Senator Gallagher said.

“My little girl is lying in bed on her own with terrible symptoms, and I can’t do anything about it, and my son’s in the next room waiting to catch it.”

She urged people to get vaccinated if they could, but supply was an issue, even though there was a very willing population in the ACT.

“It’s still only 30 per cent that have been fully vaccinated and that level is not enough,” Senator Gallagher said.

“For me, it’s taken a personal turn and I’m living the real-life impact of that low vaccination rate. It’s not been enough to protect Evie, and Evie’s like thousand of other children.”


READ ALSO: Barr announces 22 new cases in the ACT, total number active now 67, none hospitalised


As the main carer, Senator Gallagher must wear PPE such as a face shield, mask and gloves, and use a lot of disinfectant. She cannot spend prolonged time with Evie and this is frightening when she needed reassurance and physical comforting.

“There’s plenty of parents around Australia that are in the same boat as I am, maybe not directly touched by COVID but anxious and worried about what this virus means for our young people,” Senator Gallagher said.

She feared the situation would get worse before it got better.

Earlier, she posted the news on social media, saying the household was in strict quarantine until ACT Health advised it didn’t need to isolate anymore.

The rest of her family, including herself, have all returned negative tests.

“I am lucky as I am fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, too many Australians have not had that opportunity,” she said.

“My focus right now is on my little girl and getting her through this – but these events bring a sharp personal focus to the consequences of our government’s failure to ensure a prompt, efficient national rollout of vaccines.”


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68 Responses to Senator Katy Gallagher lashes slow vaccine rollout after daughter contracts COVID-19
Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:54 am 21 Aug 21

It is really a serious situation Darron Marks and instead of blubbering about it everyone should toughen up because worse is to come.

    JC JC 10:50 am 21 Aug 21

    Worse will come only if Morrison and certain state premiers doesn’t change their narratives. Premiers I’m looking towards at in QLD and WA mostly.

    Vaccination is the key to keeping people out of hospital and when that’s done in sufficient numbers we then have to accept the reality of learning to live with COVID, much like the uk is doing now.

    At that point and only at that point we need to stop publishing daily case numbers and get on with it.

Darron Marks Darron Marks 7:02 am 21 Aug 21

My heart really sank to hear the Senator's voice break when describing the fear and utter helplessness of not only her daughter being infected. But her son who is yet unaffected waiting to be potentially infected. That is very raw and real and hit a nerve for many of us in lockdown waiting for the inevitable.

It is the realisation of a nightmare any parent can sympathise with the senator and her family. She is at the end of the day just another mum and yet another victim of this global pandemic. And as a parent and a mum she has the absolute right to vent about her frustrations at the slowness of the vaccine role out. She is only human and must be under incredible strain I have no idea how she even managed to hold it together to complete an interview !

You literally have the indisputable words of the Prime Minister that the vaccine role out "is not a race" and it is true that children have only recently been approved to recieve the vaccine. But the senator isn't speaking about her child she is frightened about the many millions of other mums and families all across Australia as this virus evades our best attempts at containment.

This is a terrifying reality and for this "Mum" it has hit home how serious this situation is. Anyone who is criticising her for speaking out I think doesn't appreciate the sacred right afforded to all mums, and all parents to speak out about issues that affect them and their children.

This goes well beyond political affiliations and we need to be mindful to respect that. I really hope Evie is better soon and that her son doesn't contract the virus. That is really unfortunately all we can hope for at this stage.

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 1:57 pm 20 Aug 21

Using your kid for political points is pathetic. (this goes for anyone)

billyates1955 billyates1955 10:07 am 20 Aug 21

My daughter is 27y/o and still not able to have the Pfizer vaccine. She is unable to have AZ for health reasons. So I can only assume that KG is correct because something is wrong when my daughter cannot be vaccinated so far into the time since the vaccine was authorised in Australia. It is available for people with low immune systems ie: Aboriginal & Torres Straight Islanders, so why not my daughter and people like her? But all ACT Health will tell me is that she is not eligible. What will ACT Health and the Governments tell me if my daughter contracts COVID-19? Bit late then. ?

    JC JC 10:47 am 20 Aug 21

    Problem is supply which is not ACT health’s issue. That’s a federal issue, ACT health gets what it gets. Ask Mr Morrison or his Army commandant running the vaccine that question.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:23 pm 20 Aug 21

    It must be getting more than the other states and territory because the vaccination rates are the highest.

    JC JC 4:12 pm 20 Aug 21

    Regardless of our vaccination rates supply is controlled by the federal government and it is finite. Well Pfizer anyway. AZ anyone can get that when ever they want.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:23 am 20 Aug 21

Samantha Roughan, have you ever heard the terminology “calculated risk”?

That’s what was applied to taking AZ and in my case, it was considered acceptable.

    Samantha Roughan Samantha Roughan 4:39 pm 20 Aug 21

    People shouldn’t have to take the risk of death; when there are vaccines that have less severe “side effects”. I’d take my chances with Covid-19…

    JC JC 9:40 pm 20 Aug 21

    You also need to factor in what is going to get to your first.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:42 pm 19 Aug 21

For all the miss-steps/stuff-ups (including today’s foolishly premature announcement about Pfizer access for under-40s) in our vaccine roll-out, we’re still ahead of Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand, which truly does have all its eggs in one vaccine basket.

People who think it would have been so much better if we had a different government with a different PM need to get their heads around that very inconvenient truth.

Nick James Nick James 6:27 pm 19 Aug 21

It’s incredible the damage done to the vaccine rollout by the scaremongering against the AZ vaccine by certain prominent people, when it has literally been the path out of disaster for hundreds of millions of people over the world.

I’m 40 and I had my AZ jab today.

Prudence Smith Prudence Smith 12:11 pm 19 Aug 21

When will the 20 - 29 year olds get to have the Pfizer

    Andrew Fernance Andrew Fernance 3:21 pm 21 Aug 21

    Prudence Smith from 30/8

    Prudence Smith Prudence Smith 3:21 pm 21 Aug 21

    Andrew Fernance thank you

    Mat Barber Mat Barber 12:27 am 22 Aug 21

    30-39 year Olds still waiting, earliest appointments were last week of September on the 1st day being able to book 🙄

whatwik whatwik 11:40 am 19 Aug 21

Some have form on KG going back quite a while, maybe it’s political.

Nina Moretti Nina Moretti 11:29 am 19 Aug 21

The cuts to ACT Health funding started back in 2014.

bd84 bd84 8:26 am 19 Aug 21

It’s pretty despicable that Katy is using her family in an attempt for cheap political point scoring.

I’m a bit sick and tired of this rubbish when the only actual issue with the government’s roll out is the logistics of establishing locations for it to be done. I highly doubt Katy’s party would have done any better given they’ve been MIA since the last election.

Securing doses has been done in a worldwide market competing for scarce supply and against countries who were in a worse position than us in dealing with the virus. People also seem to forget that some supplies were blocked from being provided by governments of other nations.

The so-called problems with AstraZenica have largely been hyped up by the media and Labor state governments like in QLD which has deterred people from being vaccinated. The risk of negative side effects are a lot lower than many other vaccines or normal life activities.

Then we have Katy also trying to blame the Government for not vaccinating kids, when the drug manufacturers have either not yet fully tested them for use in children or have only just completed it and had it approved.

    Maya123 Maya123 10:06 am 19 Aug 21

    What a heartless person you are making those comments. You are the one bringing politics into this.

    Amanda Kiley Amanda Kiley 2:38 pm 19 Aug 21

    could not agree more – only speaks up when her family is affected despite being an ACT representative in the senate.

    Jordania Jordania 4:29 pm 19 Aug 21

    That remark underlines nothing but your lack of interest in what goes on around you, Amanda Kiley. If you had been anywhere but under a rock you would have known how active Katie Gallagher has been in her role in the Senate.

    protea protea 2:46 pm 19 Aug 21

    No, not “despicable” but accurate, praiseworthy and natural. A future Royal Commission (wait for it) will uncover the facts, but it has already been reported that Morrison et al put all his bets on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is cheaper than Pfizer. He also failed on aged care and quarantine.

    JC JC 3:43 pm 19 Aug 21

    Protea as much as I dislike Morrison let’s be clear in the first isnstance he backed two vaccines one of which (Uni of Queensland) would have been made in Australia and of course Astra Zeneca.

    Pfizer only came into the picture when the Uninof Queensland one fell through.

    I don’t for one moment think cost was an issue even if Pfizer is more expensive. Lack of Pfizer was it being our 3rd choice and our orders being so far down the list.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:18 pm 19 Aug 21

    Why do you dislike Morrison, JC? Have you ever met the man?

    JC JC 10:45 am 20 Aug 21

    Not sure why I need to have meet him to have an opinion of him seeing he is a public figure.

    But for what it’s worth the guy is meant to be the leader of this country and he appears to have as much leadership as my big toe.

    Even from days as immigration minister he does not answer questions directly, deflects, makes it someone else’s problem, anyone but him, but when there is a positive photo ops he is front and centre with as many Aussie flags that can be found and the odd military officer thrown in.

    And two lines will live for ever, “I don’t fight fires” and “It’s not a race”.

    And my feeling towards him is not because he is a Liberal either. There are plenty of Liberals who I like even though I may not like their policies. Some recent examples being Gladys in NSW and going back John Howard when he was PM and John Fahey when he run NSW (couldn’t stand Greiner though).

    And there are Labor leaders who I’ve not liked either, Rudd being one and this may come as a surprise but not a big fan of Andrew Barr either. With him whilst I agree with the direction he does at times, many times actually come across as a smug twat with the language he uses. That said even when a smug twat his message is more believable than Morrison’s words and I also think Barr has the territories best interest at heart wheres Morrison it’s about his and his parties election chances first and foremost. And frankly that’s why I reckon we are in the fractured situation we are in today.

    chewy14 chewy14 10:57 pm 20 Aug 21

    JC,
    I’ve got to laugh at your comment above.

    The only difference between Barr and Morrison is that Barr is far more certain that he can do whatever he wants to and most of the ACT electorate will vote for the ALP regardless. They both are heavily focused on ensuring their party remains in power, one just doesn’t need to worry as much.

    As for the local ALP having the territories best interests at heart, you can only think that if you buy into their ideology and policy direction, so it’s a bit meaningless. I don’t think any politicians deliberately act and believe in ways they think aren’t in the electorate’s best interests.

    It’s only a lie if you don’t believe it, after all.

    JC JC 7:48 am 21 Aug 21

    That’s a matter of personal opinion.

    And my personal opinion is if you truely believe what you just wrote then you are deluded.

    chewy14 chewy14 3:23 pm 21 Aug 21

    I agree with your opinion word for word:

    “And my personal opinion is if you truely believe what you just wrote then you are deluded.”

    JC JC 5:20 pm 21 Aug 21

    Good for once we are in agreement. You are deluded!

    chewy14 chewy14 6:27 pm 21 Aug 21

    Yes, JC, once again we agree:
    you are deluded.

デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 8:15 am 19 Aug 21

Should actually held government to account...

https://www.aph.gov.au/e-petitions/petition/EN1747

Niki Bruno Niki Bruno 8:05 am 19 Aug 21

I am very worried about my children and want them to get the vaccine and they also want to have it but goodness know when they will be eligible.

Sue Hughes Sue Hughes 1:50 am 19 Aug 21

Great that she’s highlighting the fact that there still is no approval for vaccinating kids... a separate issue to the poor rollout...

should be highlighting that Gladys is the only premier who thinks a half hearted lockdown will work! She needs her head read. Personally I dread wearing masks through an Australian summer...🤦🏻‍♀️

    Catherine Thomas Catherine Thomas 11:43 pm 20 Aug 21

    Sue Hughes me too I remember the summer of bushfires in 2019 where a mask was required to breathe the air

JC JC 10:30 pm 18 Aug 21

To Sherbie Leo on Facebook. You probably won’t see this but for what it is worth Katy Gallagher wasn’t for one moment suggesting her daughter should have been vaccinated. The point she was making which was clearly lost on you is the fact those who can be vaccinated aren’t mostly due to Fed Gov miss management that put those who cannot be vaccinated at risk.

Sher Bee Sher Bee 9:28 pm 18 Aug 21

Shame on you KG, the vax isn’t approved for little ones, it’s only recently been approved for young adults. If your daughter was seriously ill she would be in hospital. Please don’t use your children as political pawns.

    Ryan Cantrill Ryan Cantrill 10:29 pm 18 Aug 21

    Sherbie Leo don’t have to be in hospital to be seriously ill 😃 have you had COVID yourself ? Very quick to speak out when you haven’t experienced it yourself

Oiledpengu Oiledpengu 8:18 pm 18 Aug 21

I live in Canberra and didn’t even know she was a senator. What does she actually do?

    JC JC 10:32 am 19 Aug 21

    She does what all senators do. Maybe you’ve not heard of her though because unlike the ACT’s other Senator old mate Zed she doesn’t (normally) make headlines. Zed is always in the headlines.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:29 am 19 Aug 21

    Zed also communicates directly to the electorate – I’ve never received any direct correspondence from Gallagher.

    Amanda Kiley Amanda Kiley 2:40 pm 19 Aug 21

    Exactly! She is supposed to be a Senator, representing Canberra at a Federal level (not that you would know it).

    Jordania Jordania 4:26 pm 19 Aug 21

    Your remark shows nothing other than how ignorant and uninformed you are, Oiledpengu. I live in Qld and I know she’s a senator for the ACT. If you watched the news and tried to inform yourself about what’s going on in the world you might actually learn something.

    JC JC 11:06 am 20 Aug 21

    Good point Jordania. The likes of old mate Zed are in peoples minds because he makes noise to be heard.

    But there are plenty of pollies who just get on without and you wouldn’t know what they have done unless you went looking.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:13 am 20 Aug 21

    She’s actually been a Senator twice. The first time she was removed by a High Court ruling.

Nadine Jo Nadine Jo 8:14 pm 18 Aug 21

Katy thinking of you, Evie and the rest of the family. I hope she has a speedy recovery. I am saddened that anyone has to get this terrible virus let alone a kid. On top of that, Majority of the current year 10 cohort at Lyneham have been through the wringer twice with quarantine now. I really can’t do this again and want my daughter vaccinated as well. But irrespective of that now hoping all those currently suffering are over this quickly.

    Kate Rowntree Kate Rowntree 7:31 am 19 Aug 21

    Nadine Jo only y10? Every year group at every school??

    Nadine Jo Nadine Jo 9:03 pm 06 Sep 21

    Kate Rowntree last year in March 2020 some LHS kids were in quarantine as well. Had it twice now.

    Kate Rowntree Kate Rowntree 9:16 pm 06 Sep 21

    My kids go to LHS I’m well aware. On re reading your comment I see now you were referring to quarantine not lock down, my bad.

Anna Long Anna Long 8:03 pm 18 Aug 21

There seems to be a severe shortage of Pfizer vaccine the earliest you can book is October and this is for adults how

Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 8:01 pm 18 Aug 21

Good on you for speaking out. Pity those nurses of Maternity at Canberra Hospital were persecuted for speaking out.

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