Officials attacked during awareness

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Mathias Sapuri

TWO West New Britain Health Authority officials were injured and their vehicles damaged during a Coronavirus (Covid-19) awareness and vaccination drive, says authority chairman Dr Mathias Sapuri.
“The crowd attacked us by throwing stones at the team during the provincial Covid-19 awareness and vaccination drive in Kimbe town on Friday,” he said.
The team included provincial administrator Hosea Williamson, Covid-19 incident manager Dr Joseph Nale, chief executive officer Stanis Tao and the provincial police commander.
“I blame misinformation about the vaccination that is going viral on the social media that led to this (attack)”, he said. Dr Sapuri, also the deputy chairman of the National Health Board, said the incident occured at about 10am when a street preacher was told to leave the site in front of Bank South Pacific because he had no permit from the National Pandemic Control Centre to hold a public gathering there.
“When we arrived to start our programme, the preacher was in the midst of his preaching.
“Our staff told him to stop as he had no permit,” he said.
He said the crowd following his preaching got angry when Dr Nale began addressing them about the Covid-19.
“Some people threw stones at us.
“The police advised us to stop to prevent further public disorder,” he said.
Some of the crowd went to a settlement on the outskirts of town and attacked a medical team there.
“Two of our workers sustained injuries and our vehicles were damaged with the smashing down of glasses.
“They also damaged the tent used for the awareness and vaccination drive.”
Dr Sapuri was disappointed with the spreading of misinformation.
“Such baseless information is misleading the public.
“We are not forcing anyone to get vaccinated.
“We are carrying out awareness based on global scientific research.
“And from our awareness, you choose whether you want to be vaccinated or not.”