This is the second attack on Ambulance officers in Lae experienced within the space of two weeks. A similar incident took place last week when a crew was attending to a case.
Police are currently investigating to resolve this issue.
St John Ambulance said that a group of antivax protesters along the road stopped a three-men crew of ambulance officers, after loading the female patient on board to be treated.
The group had assumed that the SJA crew were giving vaccines to patients so they confronted the officers and abused them verbally, accusing them of conducting vaccinations in the communities and threatened to smash the ambulance.
While two ambulance officers attended to the patient, one officer stepped out to try to appease the angry protesters. Even the husband of the patient got off attempting to calm the group down by explaining what was happening.
They assured them that this was not a vaccination team and that they were only attending to an emergency case in the area.
The SJA is concerned that scepticism and misinformation floating around that SJA is involved in the vaccine rollout when that is clearly not the case.
“The work and life of our ambulance officers is at high risk of being attacked under these threats from the antivax groups and protesters,” according to SJA officer.
The officers are further risking their lives when they are not in full PPE to treat potentially COVID-19 patients. It is a result of these ongoing assumptions that seeing SJA officers in full PPE to attend to emergency cases, that they are doing a vaccine rollout in communities
SJA in Lae assures that it is not running any vaccination in any community; instead, the ambulance teams are here to help people in Lae in times of emergencies.
“Being abused or assaulted by those we are trying to help is unacceptable. We call on the Lae community to be respectful toward our ambulance officers during this time as so much more people are in need of our help,” said SJA officers.