Covid-19 vaccine protest banner removed from I-89 overpass

by Guy Page

A banner raised Sunday morning to protest liability exemption for the Covid-19 vaccine was removed by state workers this afternoon, Jennifer Stella of Health Choice Vermont said.

The removal of the banner raised by Health Choice Vermont may be in conflict with a Scott administration policy allowing messaging on state highway property, enacted in June in response to complaints from Black Lives Matter protesters.

“VTrans took it down about an hour after the [press] release went out. But it was up from 10 am – 2:15 pm,” Stella said.

Health Choice Vermont raised this banner on the Rte. 2 overpass over I-89 in Montpelier Sunday morning. About four hours later, after a HCV press release went out, state highway workers removed the banner, HCV spokesperson Jennifer Stella said.

As reported by Vermont Daily July 16, VTrans on June 19 instructed employees to not remove murals, signs or graffiti in the highway right-of-way unless profane, grotesque or dangerous to traffic, according to two VTrans memos. It was a reversal of the longstanding policy of removing or painting over graffiti and other messaging. The policy change was made after guidance from the governor’s office, and was in response to a complaint from a pro-BLM protester whose chalk-written messages on the VT-30 bridge in Jamaica were erased in June. One message said “No Justice, No Peace,” and the other listed names of black people killed by police and others.

Vermont Daily Sunday night emailed requests for comment information to press spokespersons for VTrans and Gov. Scott. As of 1:40 pm Monday no response had been received.

The banner was part of an international demonstration by “V is for Vaccine” to raise awareness of risks regarding COVID-19 vaccines. The demonstration involves the display of large banners along highway overpasses throughout all 50 states in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia on November 29th, with the message: “Covid-19 Vaccine Manufacturers are Exempt From Liability.”

According to a Health Choice Vermont press release issued Sunday, pharmaceutical companies are already exempt from liability for the majority of currently marketed vaccines under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Now, all “covered persons” are have also been exempted from liability for any COVID-19 “countermeasure” under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act).

V is for Vaccine co-founder Joshua Coleman says the aim of the global demo is to shine a spotlight on the lack of manufacturer liability for injuries and death.

“All medical procedures require informed consent,” Coleman said. “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.”

Stella expressed concern the banner was not only taken down, but taken from volunteers. “There was someone staying with/close by those signs, because the plan was to take them down at a certain time, not just leave it there forever,” she said. “But I am told that VTrans was actually instructed to take the signs… not just take them down. So the activist tells me they actually did the legwork of taking the signs down, but VTrans employee insisted he was taking them away. Where I don’t know. Trash can probably.”

4 replies »

  1. I could not help but send an email to Joe Flynn and Michele Boomhower of V-Trans asking about this situation. I also pasted a copy of the email to Gov Scott on his contact page.

  2. Sent by email, but for the record posting the response here as well.

    Hello, Mr. Rossi –

    Wayne Symonds has asked me to send you the following information, which corrects some of the inaccuracies published in a Vermont Today report:

    At no point has AOT allowed banners or signs to hang over Interstate Highways or Limited Access Roads, or rail lines, at all, for safety reasons. Permits can be applied for, under VT Statute, for banners to hang over state roadways.

    The Agency never changed its practice regarding interstate highways, limited access highways, and rail lines. Any banners hanging over thoroughfares such as those pose a significant danger should they fall and are not allowed. In this particular case, we were informed of the banner and removed it per a long-standing practice of the agency surrounding public safety.

    All banners and signs removed by AOT are stored in our garages so the owners may retrieve them. That is the case with this banner as well.



    Amy Tatko | Public Outreach Manager
    Vermont Agency of Transportation
    219 N. Main Street | Barre, VT 05641
    (802) 498-8025

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