‘Heartbreaking’: Labor senator scathing of vaccine roll out after teenage daughter tests positive

‘Heartbreaking’: Labor senator scathing of vaccine roll out after teenage daughter tests positive


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ACT senator Katy Gallagher has criticised at the federal government’s handling of the vaccine roll out after revealing she and her family are isolating following her teenage daughter testing positive for COVID-19.

The Labor finance spokeswoman, who also chairs the parliamentary committee examining the handling of the pandemic, said in a statement late on Tuesday night that 14-year-old Evie was at home and feeling unwell following a positive coronavirus diagnosis on Tuesday morning.

ACT Senator Katy Gallagher and her family are in isolation after their daughter was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Tuesday morning. Credit:@SenKatyG

All other household members have returned negative tests, but Senator Gallagher, who is fully vaccinated, is concerned her 16-year-old son, who is unvaccinated, will catch the virus.

“It’s a real juggle, we’re trying to keep him away and care for her, and make it work for a pretty reasonable stretch of time but it’s really difficult and, to some extent, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to protect him, which is heartbreaking while we’re trying to care for her,” she said in an emotional interview with the ABC on Wednesday morning.

“All this stuff, it’s not a race and we’ll get there when we can – it has not been enough to protect Evie,” she said. “Evie is just like thousands of other young Australians and, as a parent, I just feel like we’ve been let down.”

The ACT is in lockdown following the confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in the territory for more than a year last week. There were 45 cases in the ACT as of Tuesday.

Senator Gallagher said teenagers needed to get immunised, but there was no supply or plan yet to roll out vaccines widely to this demographic.

“After 18 months I’m sitting here with two teenagers and they’re completely vulnerable to COVID-19 and I feel as a mother that that’s been a failure of our response to COVID-19,” she said. “My son is in the next room waiting to catch it.”

She said the nation had done well at the beginning of the pandemic but she feared the situation was deteriorating.

“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 roll out of vaccines,” she said.

“We are really grateful for the medical and personal support we are receiving,” Senator Gallagher said, adding her household will continue quarantining until ACT Health advises otherwise.

NSW senator Kristina Keneally retweeted her colleague’s post this morning and said the consequences of the “failed vaccine roll out” were starting to be seen.

“That failure has now cruelly hit home: Katy’s child is sick with COVID-19,” Senator Keneally said.

Health experts have warned younger people including children may be more at risk of serious illness from the latest Delta variant.

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