The top American military officer for the Indo-Pacific and the Thai Minister of Public Health presided over a ceremony to celebrate the U.S. donation of 200 vaccine refrigerators to Thailand to support efforts to bring life-saving vaccines to the Thai people.
The commander of U.S. Indo Pacific Command, Admiral John C. Aquilino, handed over the refrigerators to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, October 13 at the Ministry of Public Health. This donation, valued at approximately US$1.2 million (40.5M THB), will ensure 114 public hospitals and clinics across Thailand can store safe and effective mRNA vaccines in areas where they are needed most.
“The United States has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Thailand for over 200 years, partnering to increase bilateral trade, strengthen our people-to-people ties, improve public health, and promote regional stability,” said Admiral Aquilino.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Embassy in Thailand for your generosity in providing 200 cold storage vaccine refrigerators in support of Thailand’s response to COVID,” said Deputy Prime Minister Anutin. “The cold storage vaccine refrigerators are cold, but our friendship is warm,” he added.
U.S. civil-military relations teams have already begun delivering the specialized refrigerators to ensure they quickly reach areas in need. Teams have already delivered refrigerators to Banglamung Hospital in Chonburi and King Narai Hospital in Lopburi.
The primary U.S. civil-military relations team, known as the Civil Military Support Element (CMSE), has worked through the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to complete more than 20 COVID-related projects since the pandemic began, including donations of testing reagents, genetic variant sequencers, isolation units, and now – specialized vaccine storage refrigerators.
The CMSE is responsible for several other projects beneficial to the Thai people such as building an Emergency Operation Center for Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, construction of school buildings in outlying provinces, and education programs for Border Patrol Police.
This donation, and other civil-military projects, demonstrate America’s dedication to the Thai partners in the fight against COVID-19 and other challenges they face together. The United States and Thailand have cooperated on public health for decades. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control, Armed Forces Institute of Medical Science, and U.S. Agency for International Development have partnered with Thailand across a broad array of health initiatives from malaria to HIV for more than 60 years and will continue to do so.