"And, by the way, many of these vaccines were publicly funded. They are your vaccines, you paid for them," said Prince Harry, while addressing the topic at Global Citizen Live Event.
The Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in our lives as we know it. With the arrival of vaccines, many expected things to go back to normal. But even though the shots have been around for a while, only 44.9 percent of the world's entire population has received at least the first dose, shows numbers by Our World in Data.
Several celebrities have been requesting the general public to get jabbed if they have the opportunity to do so, but what is worrisome is that not everyone has access to these vaccines.
The latest celebs to urge people to get the shot, while also addressing vaccine inequity, were Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The two were at the New York event for Global Citizen Live at the Great Lawn in Central Park on September 25, 2021, and they used the opportunity to talk about "the biggest obstacle" around the world, reports Harper's Bazaar.
The low COVID-19 vaccination rate is 'devastating for the lives and livelihoods of Africans,' WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said, commenting on the vaccine inequity in Africa https://t.co/fcoFLBWX4D pic.twitter.com/8nmLQATQzy— Reuters (@Reuters) September 28, 2021
“Vaccine inequity is the world’s biggest obstacle to ending this pandemic and recovering from COVID-19,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Economically, epidemiologically and morally, it is in all countries' best interest to use the latest available data to make lifesaving vaccines available to all.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex gave a passionate joint speech, where they called for equal global vaccine distribution, imploring world leaders and pharmaceutical companies to treat access to the COVID-19 vaccine as "basic human rights."
"Every single person on this planet has a fundamental right to get this vaccine. That's the point. But that's not happening. And while in this country and many others you can go almost anywhere and get vaccinated, billions of people around the world cannot," Meghan said.
It was my pleasure to join Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke & Duchess of Sussex, & a group of leaders in health, politics & advocacy to discuss the needs to achieve #VaccinEquity & address the root causes of health inequities globally, incl. poverty & discrimination. #UNGA pic.twitter.com/x5vAa1LWiX— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) September 24, 2021
Here's the thing, most countries in the world have the capability to manufacture and distribute vaccines themselves, instead of waiting to buy them from a handful of these big gun pharma companies at exorbitant costs.
Prince Harry added, "we have what we need to vaccinate the world," but the numbers are this low because these big companies are refusing to share the technology with others. Speaking about their discussions with the world health experts, he said, "They said many countries are ready to produce vaccines at home, yet they aren't allowed to, because ultra-wealthy pharmaceutical companies are not sharing the recipes to make them."
Sound up! Prince Harry just told why the life-saving vaccines the whole world needs are not getting to people in the developing world. And he did not flinch from explaining whose to blame. Seriously: 👑. #peoplesvaccine pic.twitter.com/xpObM2J1Ih— Ben Phillips (@benphillips76) September 27, 2021
"These countries have the means the ability and the workers to start manufacturing. All they are waiting for is the vaccine intellectual property to be waived and for the vaccine technology to be transferred over," he said.
"And, by the way, many of these vaccines were publicly funded. They are your vaccines, you paid for them."
Meghan continued, "And finally in our conversations, these experts shared that how the vaccine is distributed, and who it's distributed to, should be left to independent international organizations who know exactly where the doses are most needed. Just think about the millions of vaccines that have been discarded this year. That's like throwing away life vests when those around you are drowning."
The couple's chief priority was calling out vaccine inequity. "They are completely invested in vaccine equity. They were laser-focused that was what they wanted to deliver on. They led the charge on vaccine equity," says the source. https://t.co/kWGTDQRUlT— S Bonnet 🌺 (@sannetje_26) September 27, 2021
Meghan and Harry then exchanged a brief embrace before he continued, "My wife and I believe that where you’re born should not dictate your ability to survive."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by John Lamparski