Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
August 10, 2021
Sa-wat-dee-kaa. Good morning.
I am here today, as President Biden’s representative, to reaffirm our commitment to the Thai people during this unprecedented global health crisis.
The United States has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Thailand for over 200 years. Our partnership is broad and deep. We do so much together, from our trade and people-to-people exchanges, to our steadfast military alliance, to our cooperation on public health. It’s a relationship based first and foremost on the shared values of our nations. That’s why I’m proud to be here at Med Park Hospital today.
I’m grateful to have the opportunity to see how Thailand is working to vaccinate and protect people with Pfizer vaccines recently provided by the United States. This morning, I met frontline health care workers – Thailand’s heroes – as they received their first doses of the vaccine. And I was inspired to hear about their life-saving work. I was briefed on how these vaccines are being deployed rapidly, strategically, and efficiently to keep all of Thailand safe.
Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has provided ventilators, PPE, and other critical equipment across the globe to help combat COVID-19. And American medical personnel are working hand-in-hand with Thai public health authorities to fight this terrible virus.
In order to stop COVID, we know we must work together. COVID has no borders. The virus does not care whether you are from Thailand, or the United States, Myanmar, or Laos. And no one nation can stop a pandemic on its own. Extinguishing this virus requires ingenuity, principled leadership, and the cooperation of every nation on the earth. President Biden has committed America to providing vaccines to the world. He understands that no one is safe until everyone is safe.
So, we are providing over half a billion doses to over 100 nations, free of charge, with no strings attached. In Thailand, we have already delivered 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, which I just saw going into arms here in this clinic. We are proud to say we will soon be providing another 1 million doses. We also know that Thailand is dealing with additional pressures, including responding to humanitarian needs resulting from the crisis in Burma.
So today, I am proud to announce the U.S. government is providing 55 million dollars in assistance, the vast majority of which is going toward humanitarian response efforts. We are also providing assistance to support the pandemic response that will help alleviate the strain on Thailand’s health systems. Specifically, this includes 5 million dollars in COVID-19 assistance for Thailand, which will provide support to health care workers administering vaccines and strengthen Thailand’s health system’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19.
The 50 million dollars in humanitarian aid will flow directly through international and non-governmental organization partners to provide emergency food assistance, lifesaving protection, shelter, essential health care, water, sanitation, and hygiene services to vulnerable people from Myanmar, including more than 700,000 refugees and internally displaced people. These resources will help ensure Thailand, NGOs, and international organizations can both respond to the COVID crisis and meet the needs of vulnerable people, particularly in the Thai border area.
These are extremely tough times here and across the globe. And I want the people of Thailand to know the United States will continue to stand with you. I also want to particularly thank the nurses, and the doctors, medical personnel, volunteers, and everyone working day and night to stop the virus and save lives.
Thank you very much. I’ll be happy to take some questions.
QUESTION: Good morning, my question based on your relationship with China, I am delighted to hear your position. At the United Nations is was mentioned, the Chinese agenda at the UN system. [inaudible ] It goes without saying that United States and China compete on many fronts [inaudible] …everything. And the U.S. has been helping Thailand and ASEAN world. Is this part of a race or some form of vaccine diplomacy? [inaudible] But currently you are committed to donating 2.5 million doses of the Pfizer which makes the U.S. on the top of the countries that donate to Thailand. And whether the answer is yes or no [inaudible]… What do you expect to gain from helping Thailand?
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Look, COVID-19 knows no borders. And in providing vaccines to other nations our objective, singularly, is to save lives. And with the full knowledge that none of us are safe until all of us are safe. We’re sharing doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. Our vaccines do not come with strings attached. Thailand is our oldest ally in Asia. And we are committed to standing with Thailand until we overcome this pandemic. We’re also proud partners of ASEAN and our engagement fosters a more stable, more prosperous peaceful and healthy region. And President Biden is committed. And he has said it over and over to helping rally the world, so that we can beat this pandemic together. So no, we’re not in competition.
QUESTION: Good morning, my question is… [inaudible]
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I’m sorry I didn’t hear your question.
QUESTION: Yeah, so the government of Thailand has been pivoting more toward China for years. And when the COVID-19 comes they also rely on ordering Chinese vaccines. Does this fact concern the world [inaudible] concern about protecting people from COVID-19 [inaudible] and also in terms of Chinese influence in Asia-Pacific. Thank you.
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Okay, thank you very much. Look, the United States and Thailand have been allies and friends for over 200 years and our friendship and alliance have advanced our mutual goals for increased prosperity, for security, and more recently, a healthier future for both the people of Thailand as well as the people of the United States. And the roots of our friendship are deep. We will overcome this pandemic together. We will emerge stronger together. That is our goal.
QUESTION: Good morning, there’s an ongoing debate about which vaccine is better or safer. And also people in Thailand are believing that Pfizer and Moderna from the U.S. are the best vaccines out there and they refuse to be vaccinated by any other vaccine. Do you think it is a good idea for people to wait for a particular vaccine to arrive or is it better for them to be vaccinated by any vaccine provided right now as soon as possible?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I’m not a scientist. I will let scientists and the medical professionals assess the effectiveness of different vaccines. The United States is confident in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines we are providing to the international community. In the U.S. almost all people who die from Covid are unvaccinated. That tells us the vaccines we’re deploying are saving lives. And it is why we are working so urgently to deploy hundreds of millions of effective vaccines across the globe.