Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, showed support for vaccine equity and health care workers around the world at the taping of Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World on Sunday, saying “the vaccine must be distributed to everyone, everywhere.”
VAX LIVE, which will air and stream globally starting May 8, brought together artists, entertainers, and world leaders to encourage Global Citizens to take action and demand wealthier nations share doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to low-income countries that are struggling to access them.
As VAX LIVE campaign co-chair (along with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex), Prince Harry gave an impassioned speech to an audience of fully vaccinated frontline health care and essential workers.
“Tonight is a celebration of each of you here, the vaccinated frontline workers in the audience and the millions of frontline heroes around the world,” he said. “You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm's way, and acted with bravery knowing the costs. We owe you an incredible debt of gratitude. Thank you.”
While VAX LIVE is a celebration of the people who are on the front lines of the world’s battle against the coronavirus, it’s also about ensuring fair access to COVID-19 vaccine doses.
According to the New York’s Times’ COVID-19 Vaccinations Tracker, 83% of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in higher-income countries, with only 0.2% of shots being given in lower-income nations.
“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,” Prince Harry said.
Though VAX LIVE will air on May 8, Global Citizen has already surpassed its goal of securing more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through philanthropic and corporate commitments to help the world's most marginalized communities access the vaccine.
“And the momentum is only building,” said Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen. “Additional commitments are rolling in and will be announced as part of our global broadcast on May 8. Critically, we need to see the US and the UK step up and start sharing additional doses, and we need pharmaceutical companies such as Moderna to urgently provide millions of doses to COVAX for the poorest nations at nonprofit prices.”
Hosted by multi-platinum recording artist, actress, and producer Selena Gomez, VAX LIVE will feature musical performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin, and H.E.R. The broadcast special will also feature special appearances by President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn, and Sean Penn.
As the exclusive global streaming partner, YouTube will stream an extended version of VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World on the Global Citizen channel, which will include exclusive performances from Foo Fighters, Eddie Vedder, and J Balvin, as well as additional appearances by NCT 127 and Picture This and YouTube creators Daniel El Travieso, Kati Morton, ShootforLove, Thembe Mahlaba, and The Try Guys.
But more support is needed to end the pandemic for all. Despite a global COVID-19 vaccination campaign, many countries are experiencing a rise in cases. This is particularly true in India, where a devastating second wave of the coronavirus is killing thousands of people every day.
It’s more important than ever for countries, corporations, and philanthropists to donate dollars and doses to the people who need them most.
“None of us should be comfortable thinking that we could be fine when so many others are suffering,” Prince Harry said. “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.”
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 how to tune in starting May 8 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.