19 August 2021

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

| Ian Bushnell and Genevieve Jacobs
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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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Capital Retro7:54 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.

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.

billyates195510:07 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. ?

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 Retro3:23 pm 20 Aug 21

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

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 Retro9:23 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 Roughan4:39 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…

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

Yes, but for my mother, 60+, there is no choice as to what vaccine is available, it is AZ or nothing.

Then unless there is a medical reason, have the AZ. I am 60+ and I didn’t hesitate to have it. I got in with the over 70 year olds, as I am a primary carer. I was extremely eager to have it and get some protection. My 91 year old mother had it too. The risk of blood clots is lower in older people, and not all are fatal. I have a friend in her 50s who got a blood clot (possibly from the vaccine, but no way to be sure), but she recovered.

HiddenDragon6:42 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.

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

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.

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

Amanda Kiley2:38 pm 19 Aug 21

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

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.

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.

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.

Capital Retro6:18 pm 19 Aug 21

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

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.

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.

That’s a matter of personal opinion.

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

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.”

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

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

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.

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

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 Retro11:29 am 19 Aug 21

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

Amanda Kiley2:40 pm 19 Aug 21

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

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.

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 Retro11:13 am 20 Aug 21

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

I agree with Senator Gallagher that the federal Government hasn’t managed the vaccine rollout effectively at all.

But I find it ironic that the words of the Senator are the exact comments of kids and parents she dismissed when her government closed public schools across Canberra. Three of those primary schools and two preschools in Kambah alone, my suburb of the time.

The “undercurrent of anxiety amongst parents who are worried about what’s happening to their kids”, or the “personal and real life impacts of the Government’s actions”, concerns that “young people had been left vulnerable and that the government had let them and their parents down”. She and Education Minister Barr countered these same concerns with the same kind of empty responses as the Prime Minister does now.

The outcome of Senator Gallagher’s school closures have seen education performances decline in Kambah, kids have to travel long distances to school and the broader community lose their local playgrounds, basketball courts and the school gyms where they held after school gymnastics, judo classes, trivia nights and community meetings.

I hope Ms Gallagher and her daughter fare better than the many families across Canberra who lost their local schools and the community facilities that disappeared with them.

She is using her daughter as a cheap political point scoring exercise. Typical and disgusting.

I don’t think so, Rob Francis. What a foul and dismal mind you must have to say such a thing.

Two points – Morrison put all his eggs in the AZ basket and has been playing catch up ever since. In fact, he’d be a good cricketer, always on the back foot, ready to do a square cut. Secondly, I wish Gallagher’s daughter a speedy recovery, but Gallagher should be aware that her income is protected. I hope as a politician, she thinks of people going through the same, who have lost their job, have a mortgage and mounting bills and don’t have a platform on national TV. That goes for Morrison as well

Umm.. the fact I got the Pfizer vaccine suggests there was more than one egg in that basket. The other vaccines at the time weren’t approved yet. Moderna didn’t have approval and was very similar to Pfizer being an unknown mRNA vaccine. J&J is now proven to be ineffective. AZ was effective but no one could have predicted it had a 1 in 300,000 chance of blood clots and the population were so spoilt with very few infections in the community they became extremely picky. Don’t blame the government, I honestly can’t see how they could have done better. Blame Australians for vaccine hesitancy and their fussiness.

And AZ is being manufactured in Australia.

Before the issues with blood clots (still vastly over hyped by much of the media), magine the outcry if the PM had ignored a vaccine that could be produced here.

There would have been people complaining he was betraying Australian industry.

Yes there are things that could have been done much better, but a lot of the blame lies with irresponsible media who seem to delight in shouting about the dangers of AZ.

Sam Oak the blood clot rate is about one in 55000 over all, averages ranging around one in 32000 to one in 80000 depending on age group. See ATAGI for local data. Janssen’s efficacy and safety are much the same as AZ.

Spiral, no, much or all of the blame lies with a government which miserably failed to obtain either one of adequate quantity or diversity of vaccines. Local supply is wonderfull in my view, but sufficient good vaccines still wins.

Actually Sam Oak the fact you have got Pfizer proves nothing what so ever.

Fact is the two vaccines of choice for Australia were the Uni of Queensland one which came a cropper with false HIV readings and Astra Zeneca.

Pfizer only came into the picture after the UQ one fell through and is why our supplies of it have been so piddly.

I won’t blame Morrison for backing the wrong horses, but what I do blame him for is making out like we were front of the queue for Pfizer when we were well down the pecking list and that god awful it’s not a race comment to help cover up being so far down the list. That’s the main reason we are in the state we are now.

JC, I’m fully vaccinated and protected as much as I can be. In Australia there were under 700 cases. Compare that to Israel which many consider to have a fully vaccinated population. They had 8000 cases and average about 19 deaths a day. Given most of the population is ready to riot if we hit 70% vaccination rates and we don’t open up, I can’t see how our situation is bad. If we are exiting lockdowns at 70% even over 90% vaccinated like Israel we better be happy to have thousands of cases a day and dozens of deaths.

Sad world we live in when we accept the deaths of Australians that are immunocompromised, suffering from cancer, asthma or are generally just too old or overweight for the vaccines to be effective and all we can do is blame the government when all they have done is keep the VAST majority of people safe while others are happy to let it rip with 70% of the population vaccinated and accept the higher case numbers and deaths that go with it.

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