"You aren't a priority".
This is an exact quote from an official email I received from staff at the Belmont Vaccination Centre this week in response to my desperate request to gain access to a Pfizer vaccination appointment before December.
This response summed up exactly how myself, and many other people in my situation and age group, have felt during this vaccine roll-out.
We are not a priority, it doesn't even feel like we are an afterthought.
You see I fall into this clump of Australians aged 16-39 who, up until this point, have been promised a Pfizer jab, then relentlessly told to get the AstraZeneca and constantly scolded in daily press conferences for being a member of the great unvaccinated.
Throw in the very real struggle of accessing a vaccine appointment in a "regional city" - even as big as Newcastle - then Hunter vaccines being redirected to Sydney, to students, and to priority local government areas, and you have what my friends have been referring to as an absolute s--t show.
"Why haven't you gone out to get the AstraZeneca?" I hear you type in all caps in the comment section on social media.
Well, up until four weeks ago I was pregnant with my second child.
I was pregnant and very unprotected from COVID because I could not get a vaccination appointment, and it was not from a lack of trying.
During the start of my pregnancy it was not advised to get vaccinated, so I did my best to adhere to social distancing and practised good hygiene.
While I don't want to restart the generational war (because you know 'we are all in this together'), it feels a lot like we are not in this together.
While local case flare-ups worried me, it seemed like we were heading out of the COVID world we have known since the beginning of 2020.
Then towards the end of my pregnancy, The Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists changed its advice to recommend Pfizer vaccination for pregnant women.
But, just like the overall pace of the vaccine roll-out, it took the government some time before pregnant women were moved into a priority group and could actually book an appointment.
I tried for weeks to secure a vaccination, but most places had no Pfizer stock, or had no appointments available.
Just this week I read about a local pregnant woman in the same predicament, but she is now in the ICU fighting COVID when she could have been protected.
The college also recommends Pfizer for breastfeeding mothers, of which I am now one, yet we are not in a priority group.
The main topic in my online group chat, which consists of mostly breastfeeding mothers, has been the rat race to get a Pfizer jab. Calls to doctors, checking availability slots daily, rumours of stock coming in and the absolute shambles the system has become is consuming my friendship group's time in lockdown.
No one can get a booking until later this year, hence my email to the Belmont hub to see if breastfeeding mothers could get priority access due to the health advice.
It is, of course, not the fault of the staff at the hub, or even our local health services.
It is a problem straight from the top, and just one of many holes leaving people questioning when their health will be considered a priority.
While those in regional areas are feeling left behind, struggling to find anywhere local that has vaccine stock, Premier Gladys Berejiklian is touting greater freedoms for the vaccinated.
I can't help feel like we, the somewhat young generations of millennials and Gen Z, are once again dealt an inequitable blow to our capacities to live.
All of the older Australians who spent much of the year avoiding getting the AstraZeneca jab now get to roam free, while we fight each other for a vaccine appointment for the slight possibility of spending Christmas with our loved ones.
While I don't want to restart the generational war (because you know "we are all in this together"), it feels a lot like we are not in this together.
If I sound angry and frustrated it is because I am.
I have a four-week-old baby at home and a toddler who both have no immunity to COVID, and my only option to protect my family in a timely manner has been to go against medical advice and get the vaccine available to me right now, or remain in a bubble for the foreseeable future.
I chose to get the AstraZeneca jab - but, in a country like Australia, should I have had to make this choice?