In this Thursday, February 13, 2020 file photo, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation Address in Cape Town, South Africa.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has met with President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, to discuss the delivery of vaccines.

Rowley, who is also chairman of Caricom, met with Ramaphosa via teleconference yesterday, the Office of the Prime Minister said.

President Ramaphosa is the African Union Champion for COVID-19 vaccine strategy and acquisition.

He is also the chairman of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), the funding mechanism through which vaccines will be made available for purchase from the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP).

Trinidad and Tobago has entered into an agreement with and already made a payment to AVAT for vaccines.

Rowley told a media conference on June 5 that 800,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccines were due to arrive in T&T in late August from the AMSP.

Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne also told Parliament on June 11 that Prime Minister Rowley had been seeking a meeting with the South African president to speed up the delivery of the vaccines.

The Office of the Prime Minister said in its release that the Prime Minister’s discussions with the South African president focused on the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines for Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region.

“President Ramaphosa made a commitment that he will work with other African leaders to ensure that the orders placed by Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean nations through the AMSP are expedited,” the statement said.

South Africa is home to the Aspen Pharma pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, which is expected to play a critical role in producing vaccines.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccines are one-dose jabs that are expected to push this country’s vaccination population over the point of herd immunity.