BANGOR, Maine — On Sunday, medical freedom activists across all 50 states put up anti-vaccine banners to start conversations about what they call the "rushed-to-market and unsafe" COVID-19 vaccine. In Maine, two banners were placed on bridges for drivers to see as they drove past Brewer and Arundel.
The banner reads: “COVID-19 VACCINE MANUFACTURERS ARE EXEMPT FROM LIABILITY”.
Activists along with the grassroots organization 'V is for Vaccine,' planned the demonstration to raise awareness of COVID-19 vaccine risks. Health Choice Maine organized the movement here in Maine.
The reason why the signs were put up on November 29th is that, according to the Department of Transportation, it is the busiest travel day of the year in the U.S. as many people are driving back after spending this long Thanksgiving holiday weekend away.
"All medical procedures require informed consent. Vaccination is no different, but the reality is vaccines are routinely administered without informing the recipient of severe and acknowledged risks. A fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine means no long term and limited safety studies. With the potential for severe adverse reactions and widespread vaccine mandates, it is critical that people understand their rights, the true scope of risk involved in vaccinating and the lack of adequate recourse if they suffer an adverse reaction," says Joshua Coleman, V is for Vaccine co-founder.
"Vaccine manufacturers are exempt from liability for the majority of currently licensed vaccines under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act," says Natasha Suleiman, the Director of Health Choice Maine. "Manufacturers for any approved COVID-19 vaccine will be exempt under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act."
Health Choice Maine claims that vaccines have "gone through a rushed process not only of creation but safety" and that "we've skipped a lot of normal safety protocols like animal testing" according to co-founder Tiffany Kreck.
Kreck says Health Choice Maine is not against vaccines, but their goal is for people to do their research and educate themselves before putting on the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to the public.
"I just want people to have all the information, I think it's really important that each of us make a decision for ourselves regarding this vaccine and in order to do that you really need all the information and this is information that's not our there for everyone to have," says Ellen Stanley, member of Health Choice Maine.
"There is no liability, no after marketing surveillance system, and no vaccine injury court set up for this vaccine," says Kreck.
NEWS CENTER Maine spoke to Senior Vice President and the physician executive at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, Dr. James Jarvis about the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Jarvis says vaccines are "overwhelmingly safe and effective" for people. He adds the COVID-19 vaccine will go through multiple clinical trials and stages of safety testing before it becomes available.
"What we do not want to do is add to the problems that we're currently having within our healthcare system. Our healthcare system is someone being overwhelmed by the pandemic we do not want to add to that by putting out a vaccine that would not be safe and could cause harm to individuals because that makes our job even that much harder. So when you hear Dr. Shah and people like myself who work in population health management... and we say we think this is a safe and effective vaccine... it is because we've reviewed that data, we've looked at the experts around the country and we have deemed it to be so," says Dr. Jarvis.
NEWS CENTER Maine also reached out to Maine's Center for Disease Control and in a statement they said:
"Maine CDC continues to receive updates on COVID-19 vaccine developments from the U.S. CDC and the FDA, which will guide decisions on when and how to distribute a vaccine safely. Those federal agencies have rigorous processes in place to ensure the efficacy and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine. In the meantime, Maine CDC continues to recommend that people everywhere in Maine live their lives with the understanding that the virus is in their neighborhood. Wear face coverings in public. Stay at least 6 feet away from others. Avoid non-essential gatherings with people who are not members of your immediate household. Consider curbside pickup or delivery. Limit travel to ways that minimize public interaction. These are the best tools that Maine people have to slow the spread of the virus until a vaccine is widely available."