Remember when young people were being blamed for evading COVID restrictions last year, and admonished to protect their grandparents' health by staying home and obsessively washing their hands?
It's clear that Delta is now a pandemic of the young and the unvaccinated. But the fault lies with the botched health messaging and roll out of vaccines, not with young people.
Yet young people are still being blamed, and they will pay the price of being excluded from social events and important rites of passage like graduations and summer travel.
Many young people have been telling us all along they are desperate to get the vaccine, any vaccine. Even though they were last to enter the race, and where they've had a level of concern, the rate of vaccine uptake by younger people now far exceeds the rate of other age groups.
Lack of supply has been such a disincentive - if anyone in government had to spend hours on the booking websites every day trying to find an appointment, they'd realise what a barrier it is.
Regional state-run hubs often don't know how many doses they'll be receiving on a weekly basis, so they can't advertise appointments on the website until the day they're available.
It's a disincentive if there are no appointments available at the state hub, or you turn up and wait for hours then get turned away, only to find out there were appointments available around the corner at the local GP or pharmacy.
Provision of coordinated targeted info for local areas that would give people all the options for tracking down a vaccine would seem pretty logical. But there's no single point of information to go to for this!
Social media is young people's primary news source, and the sophistication of rampant anti-vax and conspiracy posting is extraordinary and so well organised.
When this has led to an unwillingness to get vaccinated, there's little competing positive messaging getting out there that's targeted to young people.
The government risks alienating young people further if they dismiss their concerns out of hand. But rather than a clear and accessible approach to engage young people in challenging this misinformation, there has been little to no action by governments.
Ash, 22, from Warrnambool shared how she did her own research and experienced a shift in understanding: "At the beginning when the talk of the vaccination was present, I was very influenced by the media. To be honest I didn't even know what the vaccine did. It wasn't until I stopped watching the news and ignored the things I'd see on social media when I did my own research. I investigated the mental health side of things the most. Seeing the statistical evidence about people not being able to travel to see their families really made me think what I'd be like in that situation. So that's why I'm all for the vaccination passport. I don't know how they will monitor it, but if getting the jab means that myself and others will be free and safe, I'll do it."
As Australia embarks on its pathway to re-opening, can governments really exclude non-vaccinated people from events and venues? Who's going to police this?
Recent riots in Melbourne are a frightening indicator of the level of misinformation and extremist infiltration of normally peaceful industry groups. Using the perceived threat of loss of personal and human rights, these groups are actually advocating for a loss of community safety.
Employment is another area where young people's inability to get a vaccination will have a big impact. Mandatory vaccinations have already been introduced for workers in many industries, and we have the looming deadlines of October 15 and November 26 in the many public-facing retail, hospitality and entertainment industries which employ majority young people.
When workplaces require mandatory vaccination, will an unvaccinated young person on Centrelink desperately trying to get work be penalised if they didn't have an opportunity to get vaccinated and hence is considered ineligible for those jobs?
Opening up with rampant Delta and inadequate vaccination is unthinkable. This week, four students undertaking the General Assessment Test tested positive and forced hundreds of students into isolation after a few hours at schools.
How can we possibly imagine music festivals, clubs and events going ahead without extra safeguards? But they have to go ahead ... or where's the joy? The vaccine passport is being lauded as the answer.
But, passing the responsibility for policing a vaccine passport to venues is risky. It's been really hard for them to do the compliance checks on scanning and postcodes.
Cafes have had to put "please be nice to staff" signs up to remind us it's the law, it's not the young staff acting unreasonably when they ask you to check in. Checking the address on someone's drivers license has put so many hospitality staff in difficult positions, dealing with defensive (and often illegal) travelers in regional areas.
The government's roadmap and COVID-19 recovery needs to ensure young people who have had less opportunity to get vaccinated aren't disadvantaged compared to other community members who have been eligible for much longer.
Importantly, young people don't just want to be vaccinated; they also want to move forward with their own life. Young people want to meet new people, go to uni or TAFE, start working, dating and experience the wider world outside their own bubbles.
It starts by providing trustworthy and clear information about how young people can access the vaccine roll out.
It requires a medium to long-term investment in local youth services which provide targeted and specialised early intervention and prevention support to young people who need it.
And it means dedicated funding and opportunities for young people to be a part of COVID-19 recovery.
Young people have had our community's back the entire time to keep us COVID-safe.
It's time governments and the communities backed young people to have a hopeful, brighter, COVID-safe future.
Karen Walsh is Youth Affairs Council Victoria's rural development co-ordinator. Ash Huffer is a youth work student from Warrnambool on placement with YACVic.