Prince Harry Receives Standing Ovation as He Calls for Universal COVID-19 Vaccine Access
On Sunday (May 8), Prince Harry was one of many high-profile public figures who participated in Global Citizen's VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World event at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
During an emotional and well-received speech at the charity concert, the Duke of Sussex called for universal access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are at a defining moment in the global fight against COVID-19. Tonight is a celebration of each of you here, the vaccinated front line workers in the audience and the millions of front line heroes around the world," he said in his address, per People. "You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm's way and with bravery knowing the costs. We owe you an incredible depth of gratitude, thank you.”
Harry said the "pandemic cannot end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity."
"The vaccine must be distributed to everyone everywhere," he urged. "We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world. The mission in front of us is one we cannot afford to fail out and that's what tonight is about. 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.”
"None of us should be comfortable thinking that we could be fine when so many others are suffering. 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,” he continued. “We need to lift up all of humanity and make sure that no person or community is left behind. What we do in this moment will stand in history and tonight, we stand in solidarity with the millions of families across India who are battling a devastating second wave.”
The charity concert marked Harry's first public appearance since the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip, and since the bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in March. His wife, Meghan Markle, was not in attendance. The couple serve as campaign chairs for VAX Live, which was organized by anti-poverty group Global Citizen.
Global Citizen's VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World is hosted by Selena Gomez and features appearances by President Joe Biden along with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Olivia Munn and Sean Penn.
The concert will stream globally on YouTube Saturday, May 8 at 11 PM ET.