The pandemic has shaken health care systems around the world over the past year, exposing the dangers of vaccine nationalism and how structural inequalities prevent people from receiving equal access to care. But a global recovery is underway, with more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 every day and wealthy countries pledging to donate vaccines to low-income nations.
As part of our efforts to help end the pandemic for everyone, everywhere, Global Citizen is announcing VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, a global broadcast and streaming special that aims to ensure equitable vaccine distribution around the world, tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and celebrate a hopeful future as families and communities reunite after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
With support from the World Health Organization (WHO), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Italian Prime Minister and G20 Chair Mario Draghi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Norwegian Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, and the State of California, VAX LIVE will be hosted by Selena Gomez and feature performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin, and H.E.R.
The broadcast will air on Saturday, May 8, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on ABC, CBS, YouTube, and iHeart broadcast radio stations and the iHeartRadio App, and at 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT on FOX.
YouTube will stream an extended version of VAX LIVE on Global Citizen’s channel, which will include additional performances and appearances by NCT 127 and YouTube creators Daniel El Travieso, Kati Morton, ShootforLove, Thembe Mahlaba, and The Try Guys.
“I’m honored to be hosting VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World,” said Selena Gomez. “This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably, and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
VAX LIVE aims to increase donations and sharing of vaccine doses to priority populations around the world, and will urge philanthropists and corporations to donate enough “dollars-for-doses” to vaccinate the 27 million health workers, on the global front lines in the poorest countries every day, who still need access to vaccines.
We’ll be calling on governments to pledge the additional $19 billion the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator needs to get 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses — as well as tests and treatments — to the world’s poorest countries by the end of 2021. The broadcast special will also push for financial commitments to regional responders supporting health, education, hunger, equity, and climate efforts, and encourage pharmaceutical companies to commit to fair and equitable pricing for COVID-19 vaccines.
“As a global community, we are in a race against time and the key to coming back together is the vaccine,” said Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen.
“We need to build vaccine confidence in the US and globally, and encourage people to take the vaccine as quickly as possible," he added. "There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but getting vaccines to everyone, everywhere, regardless of who they are or where they are from, is key to ensuring the end of this pandemic around the world. We must all unite to get back on track to eradicating extreme poverty.”
The concert will be pre-taped at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, where VAX LIVE will also highlight the large-scale vaccination site on the grounds of the stadium — a collaborative effort from Los Angeles Unified School District, the Los Angeles Rams, and Hollywood Park.
“COVID-19 vaccines are proving to be the most powerful tool in our fight to end the pandemic, so far saving the lives of millions of people in Los Angeles County alone,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“Global Citizen and VAX LIVE are showing us all what is possible when vaccinations are combined with strict safety measures. I am grateful for their commitment to this effort and appreciate the many partners from across the world coming together to raise awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated," she said.
According to a February report from the anti-poverty organization ONE, the world could see twice as many COVID-19 deaths if rich countries continue to monopolize vaccine doses. As wealthy nations seek to inoculate their entire populations, lower-income countries are struggling to access vaccines to prevent vulnerable groups from contracting the virus. A global recovery needs equity at its core so we can end the pandemic and get back on track to end extreme poverty.
Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World — a year-long campaign and series of events launched with support from President von der Leyen, Prime Minister Draghi, and the World Health Organization — aims to end COVID-19 for all, end the hunger crisis, resume learning everywhere, protect the planet, and advance equity for all.
“The World Health Organization is pleased to be partnering with Global Citizen in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, about the VAX LIVE announcement.
“Throughout the response to the pandemic, we have been grateful for the efforts and commitment shown by global citizens, health advocates, and changemakers around the world to advocate for vaccine equity to protect the most vulnerable people, everywhere. WHO will continue to work closely with all nations and partners to help manage potential risks and use science and data to drive a targeted global response.”
VAX LIVE also hopes to build vaccine confidence by educating and empowering audiences to get answers to their top questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.
That’s why Global Citizen launched VAX BECAUSE on Tuesday — an effort to drive candid conversations about the COVID-19 pandemic, provide people with ranging perspectives about vaccine adaption and hesitancy, and arm people with facts about personal health and immunization options.
VAX BECAUSE features a multimedia hub for visitors to ask questions they have about the vaccines and find fact-based information about COVID-19, helping communities make the right decisions for themselves. You can ask questions and find answers now at VaxBecause.org.