The Amerijet flight which brought in this afternoon, the 108,000 WHO-approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, via the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP). (Image: ABRAHAM DIAZ)

Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, Senator Amery Browne, has confirmed the arrival and receipt of the shipment of 108,000 WHO-approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, via the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP).

The vaccines were brought in on an Amerijet flight, which landed at the Piarco International Airport at 3:10 p.m. on Friday 20th August 2021.

On hand to receive the shipment were: Senator Dr. Amery Browne, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs; Terrence Deyalsingh MP, Minister of Health; Assemblyman Tracy Davidson-Celestine, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development of the Tobago House of Assembly; and Dr. Nikita Pardesi, Social Policy Officer at the UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area.

An official statement from the Foreign Ministry quotes Minister Browne as pointing out:

“…the critical role played by the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister, in leading the negotiations with key members of the African Union, including His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa; His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana; and His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya to secure these vaccines on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago.”

The Ministry’s statement added: “Minister Browne noted as well the vital role played by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in facilitating the logistical arrangements for the delivery of these vaccines, from the manufacturer in Belgium to Trinidad and Tobago. He also acknowledged the skilful diplomacy of Mr. Strive Masiyiwa, Special Envoy of the African Union for COVID-19, in helping to bring this initiative to fruition.”

The Foreign Ministry says this procurement of WHO-approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines by Government is a major boost to the national COVID-19 vaccination rollout, as it will be the first single dose vaccine to be utilised in Trinidad and Tobago, which will allow persons receiving it to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receipt of one dose of the vaccine.

“This inclusion of Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the country’s menu of available vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic provides the population with an expanded range of COVID-19 vaccines from which to choose,” the release stated, as it confirmed that the Ministry of Health will be utilizing these vaccines within its national vaccine rollout.