My Anti Vaxxer Bro in Law

Ray Massey
8 min readOct 18, 2023

I found an Anti Vaxxer in my own Family

Some time ago one of my elderly relatives suddenly came out as a Covid Vaccine Refusenik. I blame the spiteful right-wing newspaper he reads — but that can’t be all of it surely?

Although I had known him for some years and was therefore very aware of his often uncharitable views about other people in the world — I still fell into the conversational trap that opened up before me.

I had arrived at his house to collect my Daughter who was there helping out with childcare arrangements for his most recent grandchildren. As I sat having a cup of tea with him in their lounge, I innocently mentioned that the next round of Covid Vaccinations was being advertised as becoming available for the over 70’s — that’s him and me.

There was a moments unexpected silence and then he said “Oh you’re going to do that are you ? I am not having it. People are dying because of that”.

I sat in a state of mild shock and weary disappointment. Or, weary shock and mild disappointment, either way works for me!

For, I know he can readily espouse uncomfortable views based on people being ‘different’ from him and therefore they are obviously wrong — and I was aware that there are Anti Vaxxers who see Government depopulation conspiracies falling out of the Ether all around us. But this was now very close to home.

Previously I had thought of the Anti Vax contingent as being mostly composed of:-

People who just like saying No to things that most everyone else can readily accept as being beneficial.

I.e. The F*****g awkward Squad.

People who believe that if they follow a Mass decision then they will no longer be an Individual.

I.e. People who don’t know what Self Esteem is.

People who did not get enough education to be able to understand how vaccination works. Then they are afraid, and so they can therefore assign the whole thing to their ‘If I don’t understand this then it must be Bad’ bucket.

I.e. The People who don’t even know that there are things that lots of the rest of us don’t know either.

People whose education experience failed to provide them with any competent analytic ability with which to understand the world around them.

I.e. See above.

People who believe they are so special that they don’t need to think anything through — instead they simply assume that they will be provided with a personal explanation from whomever is making all this happen.

I.e. People who are so far up their own arse they can’t see out.

People who believe they are naturally immune to Covid.

I.e. The ‘Darwinian Contingent’ who will cause themselves to die off as a result of being infected — but unfortunately not quickly enough to make the rest of us any safer !

People who don’t believe it’s going to happen to them.

I.e. Unicorns who are a health threat to everyone else because they “Can’t see what all the fuss is about”. See above.

Conspiracy theorists who like to think they are fighting against covert oppression. When in fact they are just indulging in their own mindless paranoia.

I.e. See Above.

People who think that Covid is spread though using 5g phones. I suppose 4g is OK then ? Or are they still banging on about all the ‘Bad Things’ given off by Electricity Pylons?

I.e. See above.

People who espouse the notion that we should not trust Governments at all even if it means we might not die.

I.e. Folk who are not able to tell the difference between advice from a Politician and that from a Chief Medical Officer just because they appear on the same ‘television program’.


Anyhoo — I remain somewhat surprised by my Bro in Law’s response because I am aware he has had his jabs in previous rounds of our Nationwide vaccination scheme. And I know he never made any comments like this before. So I bite the bullet and enquire, gently, about this particularly new view.

I am quickly aware that this was not the best approach to use because I get the rather shirty and patronising response of “Well if you don’t know”. I am still concerned that this anti vaxxer response is somewhat off the wall and not what I would expect from him. So I back off and decide to find another way to establish where on earth this abstruse new world view of his has come from so suddenly.

It’s important here to make clear that my Bro in Law heads his own long established and quite successful family Business. He has his eldest Son in sales and marketing and customer relations. Then a younger Son in delivery and fitting, along with some other contract/part time assistants who he calls on as the need arises.

In general, he is pretty astute, quick in assessing situations and not particularly foolish. Even though he is disappointingly very very right wing.

Currently he is trying to accommodate the notion of semi-retirement. He is attempting to stay a little more in the background whilst No 1 Eldest son takes responsibility for day to day business operations. I have a lot of sympathy for this Son because its just bloody obvious that My Bro in Law is never going to let go of anything until he actually falls over and is carried out of the building !!

Now, not only is my Bro in Law well known in the local commercial community, but he is also a bit of a gossip. So it’s no surprise that he gets a number of ‘visitors’ as well as customers to his premises — So I find out later that this is the root cause of his newly acquired Anti Vax pronouncements.

He has recently had some business friends call in for a chat and, apart from putting the World to rights; imprisoning all Labour Voters because they are clearly Communists and sending home all those immigrants, they have also obviously chewed over what they ‘know’ about ‘all this covid malarkey’.

In addition to being involved in local commercial activities it seems likely that these somewhat self-appointed Community Leaders (?) also see themselves as more than passingly competent Virologists. Who are therefore quite capable of analysing this Covid phenomena and of describing in detail, some of it’s more unnerving Social effects — intended or not.

Hence the sudden outpouring of his Anti Vaxxer homilies and the “It all leads to death”, uninformed drivel.

I do understand that the general reason people believe stuff is mostly because they want to, and because it validates their own perceptions. So apart from my own relatives it’s clear that many well known people can espouse beliefs that will inevitably put them to shame when eventually subjected to a more purposeful examination.

I think of the respected author Conan Doyle — The multitude of his Sherlock Holmes stories pour out of his mind as an adoration of Cold Precise Logic based on Deep Observation. This though, is the same man who accepted obviously doctored photographs of Faeries as proof positive of their existence. He readily accepted first-hand accounts of the summoning of Ghosts and welcomed faux photos purporting to show the outpouring of Ectoplasm from a Medium whilst communing with the Spirit World.

So, where had this understanding of the power of Cold Hard Logic based on Observations gone to when he needed to analyse all this very iffy evidence ? The answer is that it was not actually needed; all useful analysis was abandoned because he just wanted to believe.

Inevitably the reverse position, of choosing not to believe the obvious, must also be true. In my mind this is exemplified by those folk who propound the notion that previous Civilisations could not have accomplished any of their monumental achievements without having ‘modern day’ understanding and 20th century mechanical equipment. Therefore it must mean that they did not accomplish these feats for themselves.

Why is it so desperately unacceptable for the Egyptians to have built the Pyramids and vast Temple complexes without JCB’s and Dump Trucks?

They had the Mathematics.

Why is it so difficult to acknowledge that the Khmer built Ankor Wot some 1200 years ago and needed to drain the whole area beforehand. Without having massive mechanical irrigation pumps ??

They had the Hydrological skills and the local knowledge.

Why are the Nazca Lines necessarily a ‘problem’ because their builders could not see them from the air? All those ancients who built Stonehenge; Carnac; Newgrange or the Ring of Brodgar could not see them from air either — but they still organised their resources and erected them.

Then there are the evidentially shallower souls who just give up and go for the ‘It was all done by Aliens’ scenario. These previously marginal folk have now become more organised and very much better groomed because they get to appear on TV.

Although many of them are still far too keen to construct a connection between the suspiciously less than watertight theories that fall out of a Dan Brown Novel and a NASA photo compilation of a surface feature on Mars.

In their off world version of Human non history we get treated to incompetently wayward analyses of intricate Inca Carved Art as somehow portraying Spaceships. We get Nasca Lines re-explained as the purported Landing areas for these ships and the portrayal of a Jesus figure ascending to Heaven as a sort of biblical ‘beam me up’ moment.

Are these folk so bereft of any notion of the history of Human presence on this planet that they can only think of the ‘now’’ of the 20/21st Century as the only era capable of creating anything at all?

Have they not heard of the Pantheon; the Taj Mahal; Victorian inventiveness; Dramatic explorations into the unknown by 16th century English, Portuguese, Dutch and Spanish sea farers; Michealangelo’s work; Benin Bronzes; the Renaissance etc??

Why would anyone despise their own Humanity so much that they vindictively seek to deny any past historical achievements which their own stubborn ignorance continually prevents them from accepting or understanding ??

Is this an example of individual people who have become so Socially and Educationally distanced that they are too afraid to trust an item of Knowledge that stems from a practical Science. Or who wish to negate the achievements of a previous Society which they are not immediately in tune with — because it’s easier to disbelieve and mistrust than it is to admire?

And that takes us back to my Bro in law and his sudden connivance amidst the secret suburbs in collusive conspiracy land. He has not, to my knowledge, carried on with his vaccine refusal ideology. So that’s a comfort for all the rest of the Family and my Daughter is still safe in visiting to help with childcare.

But my little brain gives space for the uncomfortable thought that — he’s fallen down that rabbit hole once before so what’s to stop it all from popping out again?

Be well.



Ray Massey

Intelligent, sensitive, humorous writer — new to this stuff. Offering life comments and observations from a Grumpy Old Man.