Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Anderson Air Force Base's 36th Contracting Squadron said Monday it has finalized a $691,000 contract to provide Vietnam with COVID-19 relief.
Under the contract, the squadron has partnered with the government of Vietnam to purchase and send 77 ultra-low temperature freezers, worth $691,000, the base announced in a press release.
One unit will be distributed to each of Vietnam's 63 provinces and 14 larger units will be provided at the national level for COVID-19 vaccine storage.
The contract fulfills the government of Vietnam and the Vietnamese Ministry of Health's official request for the storage units based on their acquisition of 31 million Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines due to arrive by Aug. 30.
"This acquisition shows the commitment of the U.S. to the health and safety of Vietnamese by providing humanitarian relief to them during the COVID-19 pandemic," Staff Sgt. Christian Luevano, 36th Contracting Squadron contracting officer, said in the press release.
While it usually takes from 45 to 120 days to coordinate and process a contract of this amount, Luevano said that his team worked nights and weekends, across "different time zones," to get the contract finalized in under two weeks.
Among the partners who helped the squadron seal the deal, was Major Wei Yuan, chief of defense cooperation at the the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, who identified mutual benefits.
"Not only will it enhance Vietnam's capability to distribute vaccines with special storage requirements, it demonstrates the United States' commitment on working with partners across the globe to end the devastating public health and economic effects of this pandemic," Yuan said in the press release.
The United States has recorded the highest number of cases and highest number of deaths worldwide at over 35.7 million cases and over 610,000 deaths.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected over 203 million people and killed over 4.2 million.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Army announced deployment of 222 soldiers from Fort Carson, Colo., to Los Angeles to support a state-run, federally supported COVID-19 vaccination center there -- which was among a multitude of efforts the U.S. military took up in the United States.
Last year, U.S. Southern Command delivered three field hospitals to Costa Rica.
Back in December, the Defense Logistics Agency announced that it was ready to ship COVID-19 vaccine doses to Defense Department employees outside the continental United States.
According to the Pentagon, the DLA has been involved in COVID-19 relief throughout the pandemic and has provided more than $2.5 billion in supplies ranging from face masks, to ventilators, to test kits.