Story at a glance
- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are taking part in a televised Global Citizen concert to raise awareness about COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Across the world, just 3.5 percent of the global population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Prince Harry spoke at the pretaping of the program at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on May 2.
In his first appearance since Prince Philip’s death, Prince Harry called on world leaders to ensure equitable vaccine distribution worldwide as the United States nears the one-third mark in the effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“The mission in front of us is one we cannot afford to fail out and that's what tonight is about. The virus does not respect borders and access to the vaccine cannot be determined by geography. It must be accepted as a basic right for all and that is our starting point," said Prince Harry in an address that was pre-taped on May 2, reported People Magazine.
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are expecting their second child, are campaign chairs of Global Citizen's “Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World,” a star-studded program that includes President Biden, Vice President Harris and a slew of celebrities.
"You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm's way and with bravery knowing the costs. We owe you an incredible depth of gratitude, thank you,” Harry said, reported People, addressing a crowd of fully vaccinated front line health care and essential workers.
About 3.5 percent of the global population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to Our World In Data, with many non-Western countries lagging dangerously behind.
The campaign is calling on businesses, governments and pharmaceutical companies to commit to the equitable distribution of vaccines and has already raised more than $11 million to purchase an estimated 2.3 million vaccine doses. Spain announced it would donate an estimated 7.5 million vaccine doses after half of the country's population is vaccinated, and France made an initial donation of 100,000 vaccines for health workers across Africa, with plans for more.
“Last autumn, I called for the sharing of the doses ordered by our countries, to ensure both solidarity and health security. This winter I proposed that each country share at least 5% of the doses ordered with the poorest countries. I can already tell you that, as far as France is concerned, this objective will be exceeded by the end of the year,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, one of several world leaders appearing in the program, in a release ahead of the program's taping.
The call comes as India, the second most populous country in the world and the world's biggest producer of vaccines, is fighting another wave of cases related to a new variant of the coronavirus amid a shortage of vaccines.
"None of us should be comfortable thinking that we could be fine when so many others are suffering. In reality, and especially with this pandemic, when any suffer, we all suffer. We must look beyond ourselves with empathy and compassion for those we know, and those we don't. We need to lift up all of humanity and make sure that no person or community is left behind. What we do in this moment will stand in history and tonight, we stand in solidarity with the millions of families across India who are battling a devastating second wave," Harry said.
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