My name is Claudia. I'm 22 and I was born with a physical and genetic disorder which puts me in the high-risk category for the coronavirus, as deemed by the federal government.
I'm a Victorian, currently living under Melbourne's fourth Covid lockdown, which has been extended for another seven days.
It's been almost four months since the federal government began rolling out its vaccination program. I am part of phase 1b, which means it was deemed necessary I should get priority access to vaccinations.
As a young vulnerable person, I'm also required to get the Pfizer jab. But I am unvaccinated to this day.
How does it feel? Well, it's maddening. A little scary. But most of all, it's isolating.
Let me take you back to March 2020. I was celebrating my 21st birthday when we first started hearing about coronavirus cases arriving in Australia. Less than a week later, my family and I went into lockdown as a precaution.
The following week, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declared a state of emergency, and sent everyone else into lockdown.
Most people have had a few breaks between the different waves, when the can experience those vital moments of freedom. But for me and my family, this hasn't always been the case.
For most of last year, and even this year, I stayed home out of necessity - to protect myself from a virus that had the potential to kill me or at least do some serious damage.
But I am not just frustrated for myself. I'm frustrated on behalf of my people, both in the vulnerable, disabled and chronically ill community, as well as other Victorians who have experienced the harshest lockdowns.
I am tired and frustrated with waiting for the federal government to pull its finger out and treat this vaccination program with the urgency that was needed right from the beginning.
The government always likes to make a big show of policy announcements and rallying the country around its causes. It's all part of selling the party line, a continuous election campaign, if you will. But as far as many of us can tell, this vaccination program has been all talk and very little action.
The Morrison government also promised it would be receiving 3.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. It only received around 700,000 doses.
Pfizer approached our government last June, but it wasn't until November that the government made a deal and ordered 10 million doses of the vaccine. Now we are told we are running low on supply.
Not to mention that the disability sector is largely unvaccinated, despite being in the priority categories for vaccinations, and Victoria's latest outbreak has reached unvaccinated aged care residents and workers.
This program has looked like a combination of delays, supply shortages and mismanagement of priorities.
The government expects the entire country to have at least one dose of a vaccine by October 31, but that looks unlikely to me.
I continue to isolate with no clear end in sight. I also have a steady stream of carers who come in and out of my house daily to assist me.
This means they have the potential to be exposed to the virus and bring it into my home, making my isolation effectively redundant. I live near hotspots. Every news report is a reminder to me: "You are not safe."
The Victorian government announced earlier this week that it would be doing a five-day vaccination blitz of all eligible aged care and disability residents and workers. My family and I have yet to reap the benefits of that. And still not all my carers are vaccinated.
I've felt a huge lack of information about how to get vaccinated. Not a single text message or email has reached me.
Lining up in long queues is not feasible, and the phone lines are pretty tied up. It's more than enough to discourage anyone in a similar or worse position than I am in.
Last week, during a routine appointment at a hospital, I dropped by the vaccination department and got my flu shot, in preparation for the flu season which is sure to bring about even more uncertainty and chaos.
I was told I had to wait another two weeks after that before I could get a Covid shot.
I can only hope I get it any day now.
- Claudia Forsberg is an intern at The Canberra Times.