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'My sister-in-law doesn't believe in COVID. It's completely fractured our family.'

COVID-19 has completely divided my family. 

I'm on one side with my husband, my immediate family, all of my husband’s siblings (bar one) and their families. 

We know COVID is real and dangerous. We wear masks. We know vaccinations are safe. We know vaccinations are the only sensible, safe way out of lockdowns without unnecessarily risking lives.

And while we don’t like lockdown (at all), we understand its purpose no matter how challenging it is, so we follow the rules.  

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On the other side, is my sister-in-law. She believes COVID is just a cold. She is against the COVID vaccine.

She publicly advocates for and supports the freedom protest rallies. She believes the vaccinations were rushed and are not safe. 

She refuses to get vaccinated and she will not allow her children to be vaccinated because that would make them 'test subjects'.

Pre-COVID, my sister-in-law and I didn’t always see eye to eye. On paper, we are very different. 

But despite this, we loved each other and generally got along well. Our differences in opinion were easily put aside and we could have a healthy debate without it getting nasty. 

But the pandemic has created huge disputes that can't be moved on from. Because COVID is everywhere and it's impacting all of us. 

COVID related news is everywhere, from vaccine updates, to lockdown changes, to reporting of protests.

Then there are the human stories of loss, heartbreak, of struggle.

So, when you ask how someone is, it usually comes back to COVID - which makes having two very opposite view points a big issue. 

My sister-in-law frequently posts videos, articles, and personal rants, supposedly showing ‘evidence’ of corruption in the pharmaceutical companies making the vaccine.

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She believes she has ‘proof’ of them being unsafe or not tested properly, and that the media are bending the truth to fit some 'hidden agenda'. 

Her ideas are extrema, leaving myself and my family in total disbelief. 

Her COVID views are also completely at odds with some of the lifestyle choices she believes are safe, despite proven health and safety risks - it smacks of hypocrisy.

Whenever family members have questioned her beliefs, she's shut them down. 

She always has 'evidence' to prove us wrong. She tells us we are too blinded by the mainstream media, that we are gullible and weak. 

The other issue, perhaps the biggest of them all, is her blatant disregard for the rules. 

She has sent us photos of herself not wearing a mask in public, and having a family picnic in a park while in lockdown.

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This is what is fracturing our family. These choices, this disregard for others, her dangerously and purposefully denying the truth that is right in front of her.

I have thought about the situation we are in quite extensively. Just ignore it, I have often thought to myself. Or avoid talking about it and hope that soon it won’t be such an ‘issue’.

But then my common-sense kicks in and I realise that it’s impossible to do any of these things because the issue is deeper than COVID-19: it is symbolic of scepticism of disease, and vaccination more widely.

These views are potentially dangerous for myself and my family not only health wise but ideology wise. 

While I understand everyone has an opinion about COVID, about vaccinations, about lockdowns and that sharing opinions is part of life, I also respect the facts, especially the ones that directly impact my health and safety, and the health and safety of others.

And that is why I can’t let it slide, or ignore it, or hope that it goes away no matter how much I love her.

Having these polar opposite views on something so serious and complex is driving a wedge between our family - and I don't know if we can come back from it. 

The author of this story has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reason.

Feature Image: Getty.