Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World helped mobilize $302 million in funding and over 26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to provide equitable vaccine access to the world’s most marginalized communities and health care workers in critical need of global support.
Part of the Global Citizen’s broader Recovery Plan for the World, the VAX LIVE campaign was launched to provide equitable and urgent COVID-19 vaccine access to vulnerable communities around the world and support the work of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, the global mechanism dedicated to the equitable and coordinated procurement of vaccines, tests, and treatments and universal access to affordable COVID-19 vaccination.
- $302 million pledged by Canada and Croatia, and $2.5 million from the private sector in support of the ACT-Accelerator to ensure the equitable delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.
- 13.25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses pledged from Norway, Spain, New Zealand, Croatia, and the UAE to share doses regionally, and to vulnerable countries around the world.
- $39.6 million in commitments pledged by corporate and philanthropic partners in support of COVAX, the worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. These pledges have been matched in funding to the value of $23.6 million, totaling $63.3 million. This funding is set to help procure almost 12.66 million COVID-19 vaccines.
- Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, called for citizens to publicly donate to COVAX, and at the time of writing their initiative has mobilized $535,000, which will help purchase 107,000 COVID-19 doses.
- Portugal will bring forward the delivery of its initial commitment to provide 1 million doses to Portuguese-speaking countries to begin in June 2021.
- In total, more than 26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses pledged by governments, businesses, and philanthropists to support those around the world most in need as a result of the aforementioned funding.
Global Citizen is calling on the world’s leaders to urgently donate all excess COVID-19 vaccine doses, in cooperation with COVAX, to countries in need.
The Group of Seven (G7) nations and the European Union have ordered in excess more than 1.24 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, and and wealthy nations such as the United Kingdom have failed to provide any time-bound commitments to share doses in parallel to vaccination of their own citizens.
Right now, dose sharing is the only strategy to improve equitable vaccine access for nations unable to facilitate their own country-led vaccine rollouts. Global pharmaceutical companies must act with extraordinary purpose, responsibility, and leadership in response to the global equity crisis by providing COVID-19 vaccine doses to COVAX at not-for-profit pricing.
Pharmaceutical companies and the world's leaders must also work in solidarity to end the opposition to the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccine patents to increase global vaccine production and universal access.
“Thank you Global Citizens for making your voices heard at #VaxLive — #COVAX is working.. procuring COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable people." @GaviSeth@gavi has a special message for all Global Citizens who took action at #VaxLive 👇 pic.twitter.com/EtoK5GHyTx— Global Citizen Impact (@GlblCtznImpact) May 17, 2021
VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World
On Saturday, May 8, Global Citizen presented VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, a live concert, global broadcast, and streaming special to ensure global vaccine equity, inspire vaccine confidence around the world, and support the work of the ACT-Accelerator and the COVAX Facility.
Hosted by multi-platinum recording artist, actress, and producer Selena Gomez, and featuring VAX LIVE campaign chairs Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the event saw more than 20.000 fully vaccinated health workers and first responders come together for the live taping of VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World on May 2 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, to unite to end the COVID-19 pandemic and celebrate a hopeful future.
Airing in more than 100 countries and streamed globally on YouTube, the event featured performances from Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin, and H.E.R., with appearances by Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn, and Sean Penn.
Since the campaign’s launch in February, Global Citizens have taken 100,000 actions to call on the world’s leaders to step up and fully fund the ACT-Accelerator. Global Citizens around the world tweeted, signed petitions, and took other actions to urge world leaders and corporations to donate enough funds and vaccine doses for health workers on the front lines in the world’s poorest countries, and call on pharmaceutical companies to commit to fair pricing for COVID-19 vaccines.
VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World received messages of support and commitments from His Holiness Pope Francis, President of the United States Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris, President of France Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, European Commision President Ursula von der Leyen, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem al Hashimy, and Minister of Health of Portugal Marta Temido.
World leaders united in support of the campaign, sharing heartfelt messages during the broadcast and calling for people everywhere to stay optimistic, support their communities, and ensure they get vaccinated.
“If we have gained anything, it's a reminder of the responsibility we have as a global community to see one another, to support one another, and to protect one another," said Vice President Kamala Harris.
“[We need] a spirit of justice that mobilizes us to ensure true universal access to vaccines, and a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights. A spirit of communion that allows us to generate a different economic model that is inclusive, just, and sustainable,” said His Holiness Pope Francis in support of the Global Citizen campaign.
Thank you, @pontifex, for supporting the universal access to the COVID-19 vaccine and a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights. We must protect the world’s most vulnerable and ensure that everyone, everywhere is safe from this pandemic. #VaxLivepic.twitter.com/OuWNiSkYaO— Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) May 8, 2021
"We have to stand together and raise our voice, for the sake of providing this vaccine, and for the sake of fairness in its distribution, we must show solidarity and join hands in order to get rid of selfishness in monopolizing the right to produce this vaccine, in order for this vaccine to reach everyone,” said H.E. Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary General of the Higher Committee on Human Fraternity.
During the campaign, Selena Gomez joined Global Citizens in taking action, calling on world leaders from Italy, Spain, France, the US, and New Zealand to step up support for global vaccine equity.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen responded immediately, pledging their support to the VAX LIVE campaign.
Global Citizen Ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas also took to Twitter to call on world's leaders to pledge financial or vaccine dose support to COVAX, and show urgent support for her home country of India, asking the United States to share vaccines with the nation.
By May 2, Global Citizen had already mobilized $53.8 million in commitments, surpassing the campaign goal of securing 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and to support the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to procure essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic.
In the lead-up to the event, Global Citizen and its partners led a coordinated drive across the private sector to urgently mobilize funding for the vaccine-sharing program COVAX, a global initiative co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) to ensure equitable vaccine access for low- and middle-income countries.
France was the first country to publicly advocate for vaccine dose sharing as early as fall 2020, and called on other nations to commit vaccines and funding to COVAX. Prior to the event, Macron announced that France would share at least 500,000 vaccine doses by mid-June via COVAX. By April, France had begun the delivery of the 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Mauritania.
“The battle against COVID-19 is a global battle, but it is the battle we are fighting together, and not against each other — vive VAX LIVE,’’ Macron said.
As follow-up to Portugal’s initial commitment to provide 1 million doses to Portuguese speaking countries in the most need of health care and COVID-19 vaccine access, as part of VAX LIVE, the Portugese government announced that the nation would accelerate the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses to begin in June 2021.
“To vaccinate the whole world, more resources and more doses are needed. And this is what brings us together, reunite the world with vaccines for all," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
By May 8, six nations as well as philanthropic partners and global corporations had answered Global Citizen’s urgent call — pledging $302 million in funding and more than 26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as part of the campaign.
A Virus Anywhere Is a Virus Everywhere
In 2020, COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill, and today, the pandemic is still raging across the globe. As new variants of COVID-19 are emerging, some of which are vaccine resistant — dozens of countries are yet to receive a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As COVID-19 vaccinations continue, people in the world's high-income countries are quickly returning to normal life, but for many nations around the world COVID-19 still remains a threat.
That’s why VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World called for pledges in support of COVAX, to help distribute vaccines to the most vulnerable communities and nations in need.
In 2021 alone, at least 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses are still urgently needed, and unless at least 60% of the world’s population gains access to the vaccine, an end to the pandemic is nowhere in sight.
The world must remain firmly focused on reducing the equity gap in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Rich countries with just 13% of the world’s population have cornered the vaccine market.
“No vaccine should be left unused. Our aim is to share surplus doses. We must work together to ensure that vaccine doses are shared as soon as possible,” said Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg in support of the VAX LIVE campaign.
Since February 2021, the COVAX Facility has successfully delivered COVID-19 vaccines to more than 100 countries. Prioritizing vaccine supply to low-income countries through COVAX will ensure the coalition meets its goal to vaccinate at least 30% population and the 27 million health workers based in 92 low-income countries unable to self-fund vaccination programs.
Behind-the-scenes at #VaxLive with Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex: “What we cannot allow to happen is science being politicized.” Tune into the show TONIGHT to join The Duke of Sussex and many others in the fight against vaccine hesitancy: https://t.co/bo7s7X9Utfpic.twitter.com/NqIoV3rWcj— Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) May 8, 2021
While vaccine distribution is one of the key priorities to end the pandemic, the VAX LIVE campaign has called for continued support of the entire ACT-Accelerator as an essential pillar of an equitable recovery.
Many around the world lack basic health care access, and millions of people around the globe still urgently need the full host of COVID-19 medical tools — like PPE, oxygen, therapeutic medicine, and diagnostics — to survive the pandemic.
The World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, as a partner organization of the ACT-Accelerator is also leading and coordinating the global response to COVID-19.
Commitments to the fund have so far helped the WHO deliver hundreds of millions of pieces of PPE to more than 162 countries. Spotify, Teremo, and Accenture have collectively pledged $2.5 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund as part of VAX LIVE.
VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World received key pledges in support of the ACT-Accelerator, which included a CA$375 million (US$299 million) commitment from Canada, and a €500,000 (US$600,000) from Croatia to COVAX— dedicated to the urgent distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments. The pledge by Canada as part of VAX LIVE has increased the nation's total contributions to the ACT-Accelerator to CA$1.35 billion.
Looking forward to watching #VaxLive tonight in support of #VaccinEquity. My appreciation to @GlblCtzn, my friend @Hughcevans and all leaders and entertainers involved in this inspiring broadcast. Together we will overcome #COVID19https://t.co/I7AtLyNMow— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) May 8, 2021
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Matches $23.6 Million to COVAX
Global Citizen worked closely with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to mobilize the organizations's matching mechanism as a means to further incentivize corporate and philanthropic partners to increase their financial pledges toward vaccines and immunization.
The mechanism, led by Gavi and supported by its philanthropic partners, has matched nearly all corporate and philanthropic contributions to COVAX, to the amount of $23.6 million. As part of this mechanism, each dollar committed by businesses, foundations, and philanthropists has been doubled, helping to bring more vaccines to more places in dire need.
Very grateful to @Mastercard and other foundations for joining forces with Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and @glblctzn to help us provide #COVID19 vaccines through #COVAX for vulnerable people around the world: https://t.co/zsuLiL2kyM— Seth Berkley (@GaviSeth) May 6, 2021
“Thanks to the tremendous advocacy of Global Citizens around the world, VAX LIVE has helped COVAX secure millions of doses of vaccines for the world’s lower-income countries,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“These vaccines will help us protect the world’s most vulnerable people and bring us one step closer to ending the acute phase of the pandemic. We’re grateful for your support and urge you to keep up the momentum as we call on all governments, businesses, and partners to come together to make it possible for COVAX to deliver,” added Berkley.
Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Call for Significant Commitments to COVAX
Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as campaign chairs of VAX LIVE, delivered an important global message for vaccine equity during VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World.
As part of their roles as campaign chairs, they’re leading a coordinated drive across the private sector to raise critical funds for COVAX, the vaccine pillar of the global health community responding to COVID-19.
On May 6, Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, called for donations in honor of their son Archie’s second birthday. As part of the campaign, donations made toward Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will be triple-matched by organizations including the Seadream Family Foundation, a public charity, and Mastercard Impact Fund up to $1 million each.
Global Citizens called on individuals and small businesses, who have the means, to support this call and make contributions toward an equitable global recovery via COVAX through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Globesight, a strategic advisory firm for social impact founded in the UAE, was one of the corporate partners to answer the call, donating with enough matched funding to ensure 20,000 vaccine doses will be made available for vulnerable populations around the world.
"We wanted to do our part as the situation continues to be very challenging for far too many countries where people simply do not have access to vaccines," said Taufiq Rahim, president of Globesight. While Globesight often works behind the scenes, Rahim felt it was important to signal that everyone needs to step up. "Every contribution right now is important," he added.
At the time of publication, this initiative has already mobilized $535,000, which will help purchase 107,000 COVID-19 doses. The Duke and Duchess have also penned a powerful open letter calling for significant commitments to COVAX from Moderna and Pfizer, as well as for all five leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to drop their opposition to waiving intellectual property (IP) rights of COVID-19 vaccines as a means to quickly increase the global supply.
In the spirit of collaboration and solidarity, government leaders showed their support for VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World by pledging financial and vaccine dosage commitments.
The below funding and COVID-19 vaccine dosage commitments were mobilized with the help of our corporate, philanthropic, and organizational partners, to whom we are grateful for their support.
Commitments made toward COVAX AMC were matched for a total of $23.6 million mobilizing funding to support the supply of 12.66 million vaccine doses. These vaccines will be distributed equitably across the globe and in accordance with Gavi, COVAX AMC, and World Health Organization guidelines.
Global Citizen: A Recovery Plan for the World in 2021
In 2021 alone, Global Citizens have taken thousands of actions to fight COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable people from its impacts.
VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, called on Global Citizens to use their collective voice to drive change and continue to protect the world's most marginalized from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every person vaccinated is helping to save lives, and give us back those moments that we’ve missed so much,” said First Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden in a video address as part of VAX LIVE.
“We’re working with leaders around the world to share more vaccines, and boost production to make sure every country has the vaccines they need, and if we can get this done we won’t have to miss another moment,” added US President Joe Biden.
In April, the United States announced the country would share 60 million vaccine doses, and Global Citizen is now calling on the United States to distribute all vaccine doses in cooperation with COVAX.