A global fundraising effort led by Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, has so far mobilized $1.888 million to buy COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable people over the past week.
The initiative — launched May 6 in honor of the second birthday of their son, Archie — has raised more than $440,000 in individual donations to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is co-leading the effort known as COVAX to get COVID-19 vaccines to people in low-income countries who would otherwise be last in line to receive them.
Mastercard Impact Fund, Seadream Family Foundation, and a public charity all agreed to match donations dollar for dollar up to $1 million each, turning every $1 donated into $4. A second matching program led by Mastercard and Citi has also mobilized additional funds toward the $1.888 million total so far.
“This year, our world continues to be on the path to recovery from COVID-19,” Prince Harry and Meghan wrote in a letter accompanying the effort. “Yet too many families are still struggling with the impact of this pandemic. While some places are on the verge of healing, in so many parts of the world, communities continue to suffer.
“As of today, around 80% of the nearly 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine shots that have been given were administered in wealthier countries. While we may feel that normalcy is around the corner, we remind ourselves that in much of the world, and especially in developing countries, vaccine distribution has effectively yet to start.”
A COVID-19 vaccine dose costs roughly $5. That means that every $5 donated will be another vaccine dose that goes to one of the world's poorest countries.
“We have been deeply touched over the past two years to feel the warmth and support for our family in honor of Archie’s birthday,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrote. “Many of you donate to charities on his behalf, and mark the occasion by giving back or doing an act of service — all through the goodness of your hearts. You raise funds for those who need it most, and continue to do so organically and selflessly. We remain incredibly grateful.”
Prince Harry and Meghan served as campaign chairs of Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World to call for global vaccine equity and galvanize the private sector into helping end the pandemic for everyone, everywhere. They also called on pharmaceutical companies to urgently share COVID-19 vaccines with the world’s poorest countries, commit vaccines at not-for-profit prices, and support the temporary suspension of COVID-19 intellectual property rights to accelerate vaccine production worldwide.
VAX LIVE helped mobilize $302 million to help fight COVID-19 and secured more than 26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for those in need.
“We will not be able to truly recover until everyone, everywhere, has equal access to the vaccine,” Prince Harry and Meghan wrote.
You can learn more about the donation drive and donate here. Donations on or before May 16 will continue to be matched up to $1 million.