New COVID-19 vaccine information billboard raises concerns

Dakota News Now

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – A controversial billboard has recently popped up in two different locations in Sioux Falls, claiming more than 927,000 injuries have occurred due to the COVID-19 Vaccination.

The billboards can be found on the corner of 12th street and Minnesota Avenue as well as the corner of East Arrowhead Parkway and Veterans Parkway.

They have been put up by a group called Banner4Freedom, founded by Robert and Jamie Agee, and it began with one billboard in Bonham, Texas.

“We ended up raising 30 thousand dollars in two days without even requesting that to happen. The people just saw it and they wanted to get behind it,” Robert Agee said.

They have since spread across the entire country.

“On the website, it shows that we have 66, we actually have over 74 billboards up right now,” Agee said.

Not all billboard companies are willing to put up the message.

“Originally my wife and I started contacting these companies and of course, we go straight to the big name billboard companies, like Clear Channel and Lemar. Some of the bigger billboard companies were not willing to put this message out,” Agee said.

Where the concern comes from is whether the number that is being displayed is factual.

“When we first put up the billboard the idea was to communicate the adverse reaction to the vaccine that was reported to the VAERS system,” Agee said.

V.A.E.R.S stands for Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and is co-managed by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“You know there’s a lot of people that say well anybody can report to it and that is true. Keep in mind if you’re a health office you’re required by law to do that, but anybody can report this information to the V.A.E.R.S. database but it is a federal felony if you’re reporting it inaccurately,” Agee said.

An issue that arises is there’s a possibility the self-reported cases on the V.A.E.R.S. website do not get followed up on to validate they actually occurred. Meanwhile, health officials still encourage people to get the shot.

“Vaccines are one of the most important ways we have to prevent the spread of disease and I think everyone needs to be vaccinated,” Dr. Brian Tjarks said, a Sanford acute care family practice physician.

Copyright 2021 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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