As India continues to grapple with a worsening COVID-19 crisis, actress, activist, and Global Citizen Ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas tweeted about the tragic effects of the coronavirus in her home country on Monday, asking the United States to share vaccines with India.
After the US announced that it would provide aid to India, Chopra Jonas teamed up with Global Citizen on Wednesday to answer questions about the importance of vaccine equity, and encouraged people to take action through Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE campaign to demand world leaders share COVID-19 vaccine doses and resources.
“The US has ordered more than 550 million doses beyond the needs of its population,” Chopra Jonas wrote in a statement she tweeted to kick off the Q&A.
“This is why I strongly believe that the US and other wealthy nations should share doses as soon as possible with those in urgent need, including India, and why I’m supporting Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE campaign and so can you.”
I’ve been reading some of the responses to my tweet and want to talk more about why I’m taking action with @GlblCtzn. I’ll be here with the @GlblCtznImpact team for the next 20 mins to answer some questions on how everyone can take action. https://t.co/2y93LmQkFBpic.twitter.com/qHnSAbIHp7— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) April 28, 2021
While India managed to avoid large-scale devastation at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is now facing a spike in cases and deaths, which has placed enormous stress on the health care system. The country is reporting more than 300,000 COVID-19 cases per day, though many public health experts believe the true number of cases is much higher due to underreporting and limited access to COVID-19 testing resources, according to the New York Times.
Despite being a global vaccine manufacturer, only 10% of India’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, leading activists to ask government leaders around the world to donate vaccines and resources to ease the country’s burden.
The White House initially announced Monday that it would share 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries over the next two months but did not specify which countries would get priority, despite India’s obvious need as its large population battles dangerous COVID-19 variants and gaps in resources.
Chopra Jonas went on Twitter on Monday to draw attention to India's crisis.
My heart breaks. India is suffering from COVID19 & the US has ordered 550M more vaccines than needed @POTUS@WHCOS@SecBlinken@JakeSullivan46 Thx for sharing AstraZeneca worldwide, but the situation in my country is critical. Will you urgently share vaccines w/ India? #vaxlive— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) April 26, 2021
Tweeting at President Joe Biden, White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, she asked the US to share vaccines with India.
At a White House press briefing Tuesday, officials said the US is in contact with the Indian government and health authorities and is planning on sending resources. In response to a question about the timeline of distributing excess vaccine doses to India, officials also stated that 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are available to be distributed globally pending inspection by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
With more 27 million followers, Chopra Jonas’ tweet had a lot of impact, leading people to ask questions about COVID-19 and how they can help the situation in India.
She shared more about why she is taking action with Global Citizen as part of the VAX LIVE campaign, which is calling on wealthy nations to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to help the pandemic for everyone, everywhere.
One follower asked Chopra Jonas how working with Global Citizen will ensure vaccines can reach rural communities in India. She responded that the VAX LIVE campaign is asking government leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to support COVAX, the vaccine pillar of the ACT-Accelerator that seeks to equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines and reach vulnerable communities.
Through the #VaxLive campaign we’re supporting COVAX, a global vaccine sharing program that works with partners with lots of experience reaching rural communities. We’re raising funds and calling for dose donations to COVAX. https://t.co/Tj4NGJAFKP— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) April 28, 2021
Another user shared a concern that many people may not be getting vaccinated against the coronavirus because they are scared about the side effects. Chopra Jonas wrote that people who are concerned should speak with doctors and health officials and pointed out examples of vaccines having lifesaving results.
I understand and it’s important people seek more info or speak with a doctor if they have concerns. Vaccines work and throughout history have saved millions of lives and eradicated diseases like Smallpox and Polio in India https://t.co/dm14z8b8hK— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) April 28, 2021
As more of her followers asked for guidance about what they can do to help the situation in India, Chopra Jonas tweeted that everyone should raise their voice about vaccine equity.
All of us can take steps to help in this time of crisis. One way is by raising your voice to world leaders to deliver COVID-19 vaccines urgently. Join @GlblCtzn’s #VaxLive campaign and make your voice count. Thank you for this Q&A and for your support for India. https://t.co/g2lcOSCwyA— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) April 28, 2021
“All of us can take steps to help in this time of crisis. One way is by raising your voice to world leaders to deliver COVID-19 vaccines urgently,” Chopra Jonas tweeted. “Join @GlblCtzn’s #VaxLive campaign and make your voice count. Thank you for this Q&A and for your support for India.”
Until vaccine doses are made available to low-income countries and vulnerable communities around the world, the pandemic cannot end for anyone. That’s why it’s important for government leaders to commit to donating extra vaccine doses, resources, and funds to countries that need help.
As part of the VAX LIVE campaign so far, Spain has announced a donation of 7.5 million vaccine doses to Latin America and the Caribbean as soon as 50% of the Spanish population is vaccinated. France also announced that it would begin donating vaccine doses through COVAX immediately, with an initial donation of 100,000 doses this month and at least 500,000 by June.
Cisco, the Analog Devices Foundation, and the Coca-Cola Foundation have also made commitments to support COVAX as part of the campaign. Cisco has pledged to donate $5 million, which will be matched by an anonymous Swiss Foundation donor. The Analog Devices Foundation announced $1 million, and the Coca-Cola Foundation will donate $500,000. Together, these commitments totaling $11.5 million will allow for the purchase of 2.3 million vaccine doses for health workers on the front lines.
Activists and artists like Chopra Jonas are doing their part to call for vaccine equity. Everyday Global Citizens like you can also take action to help end the pandemic by asking world leaders to donate vaccines, tweeting pharmaceutical companies like Moderna to sell COVID-19 vaccine doses at-cost, and learning more about the importance of vaccine sharing.
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 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.