Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have penned a powerful open letter to the CEOs of five of the world’s leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, calling on them to urgently share COVID-19 vaccines with the world’s poorest countries.
The Duke and Duchess penned the letter — addressed to the heads of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax — in their roles as campaign chairs of “VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World”, a show from Global Citizen, premiering on May 8, calling on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to ensure vaccines are available to all.
Prince Harry and Meghan praise the CEOs in their letter for leading the development of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 at a historic pace, emphasizing the power of collaboration when working towards a shared goal. But they write that the rollout has been marred by systemic injustice.
“However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health, social, and economic inequality globally,” the open letter reads. “The global vaccine rollout thus far further deepens these disparities, with the poorest and most marginalized populations most adversely impacted.”
“As of May 1, over 80% of the 1.2 billion vaccine doses administered globally have occurred in high-and upper-middle-income countries while the very lowest-income countries have administered just 0.4%,” it continues.
“As we are seeing in countries like India, the urgency to deliver doses now to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19 is only increasing,” the letter adds. “That’s why it is imperative that we ensure equitable vaccine access globally so that people are protected, economies can recover, and this global pandemic can be brought to an end everywhere."
The letter calls on the CEOs to “act with extraordinary purpose, responsibility, and leadership in response to this equity crisis,” before outlining specific actions for the manufacturers. These include:
- For Moderna to move up its delivery schedule with COVAX and increase the promised 2021 volume to at least 100 million doses.
- For Pfizer to commit at least 100 million additional doses to COVAX at not-for-profit prices, and to deliver them as soon as possible this year.
- For all five manufacturers, to end opposition to the temporary suspension of intellectual property and work collaboratively with the global community to achieve universal access.
COVAX is a facility set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to improve vaccine access by delivering 2 billion doses to low- and middle-income countries by the end of the year — an essential goal in bringing the pandemic to an end for everyone.
You can join The Duke and Duchess in calling on the vaccine manufacturer CEOs to do more to help combat vaccine inequity by adding your name to the open letter here.
On May 6, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also celebrate the second birthday of their first child, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. To mark the occasion, the pair have further launched a drive for individual donations to COVAX, for anyone who can contribute. Every $5 donated will be another vaccine that will go to one of the world's poorest countries.
If you donate before May 16, your generosity will be matched “dollar for dollar” up to $3 million from organizations that include the Seadream Family Foundation and Mastercard Impact Fund.
You can donate to COVAX by following the link here.
Hosted by multi-platinum recording artist, actress, and producer Selena Gomez, the VAX LIVE broadcast special premiering on May 8, will feature musical performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin, and H.E.R.
Special guests from around the world will also speak about the importance of vaccine equity, including Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn, and Sean Penn.
You can watch the whole show wherever you are by tuning into our YouTube channel from 8 p.m. ET on May 8 — available on demand so you can catch up any time after May 8 too. VAX LIVE will also be airing and streaming on TV, radio, and online around the world. For everything you need to know about how to tune in wherever you are, check your local listings here.
As part of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World campaign, VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World will bring together artists, entertainers, world leaders, and more to ensure equitable vaccine distribution around the world, tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and celebrate a hopeful future.
Find out more about how to tune in here, and join us in taking action to end the pandemic and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to COVID-19 vaccines. Then, head to our multimedia hub VAX BECAUSE to join candid conversations about the pandemic and find answers to your biggest questions about the vaccines.
Want to take home part of the show? Check out our VAX LIVE merch at the Global Citizen official store.