Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, called for more vaccines for Africa during an address at the Global Citizens Festival on Saturday, September 25. Harry and Meghan, on stage in New York, also supported the waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights around the production of Covid-19 vaccines to allow other countries to produce them as well, such as the proposed South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Macron had already given France’s support for the proposed temporary intellectual property waiver in June.)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were greeted on the New York stage by none other than the South African actress and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Nomzamo Mbatha.
Nomzamo revealed that in Africa, “a continent of 1.3 billion people; still only 4% are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The pandemic has pushed 150 million more people into extreme poverty. She then introduced Harry and Meghan as “two tireless champions” joining her in the fight for vaccine equity.
The crowd of 60,000 in Central Park went wild for the couple and temporarily forgot the important vaccine message when Harry said the words “my wife and I believe”. The crowd cheered loudly. The couple paused for a moment and hugged each other in recognition of the crowd’s support before continuing their call for more vaccine fairness around the world.
Prince Harry said: “Are we ready to do what is necessary to end this pandemic?
Meghan has said although it seems the pandemic has dragged on forever and some people are barely overwhelmed by it BUT “if everyone is done with this it will never be over.” There is so much we can do today to move closer to the end of this pandemic. And that’s why we’re all here.
“We can be here tonight because the brightest scientists, researchers, frontline workers and altruistic public health leaders have risked their lives to protect our global community. They are our humanitarian heroes.
Prince Harry revealed: “Since the start of this pandemic, we have been discussing with the experts how we can do our part. This week, we gathered with independent global health leaders to better understand how we are getting closer to vaccine equity and ending this health crisis. But we are fighting more than the virus alone. It is a battle of disinformation, bureaucracy, lack of transparency and lack of access.
It’s a human rights crisis
“And above all, it is a human rights crisis.
Meghan said: “Every person on this planet has the basic right to receive this vaccine. This is the point, but it is not. She said that in the United States and many other countries you can go almost anywhere to get vaccinated “billions of people around the world cannot. This year, the world is expected to produce enough doses to meet the goal of immunizing 70 percent of people in each country.
“But it’s wrong that so far, much of the vaccine supply has only gone to 10 rich countries and not everyone. It’s just not OK.
Prince Harry stressed the importance of vaccinating the world, but said experts had informed them of what was bothering them. This is the message Ramaphosa has been trying to get across for at least a year.
“The ultra-rich pharmaceutical companies do not share the revenues (of vaccines)”
“(Experts) have said that many countries are willing to produce vaccines at home,” Harry said, “but they are not allowed to because the ultra-rich pharmaceutical companies do not share the proceeds to make them. “These countries have the means, the capacity and the workers to go into manufacturing. All they are waiting for is for the intellectual property of the vaccine to be abandoned and the vaccine technology to be transferred. And for that matter.” , many of these vaccines were publicly funded, these are your vaccines, you paid for them! ”
Meghan stressed “when we view this as a humanitarian crisis, which it is, controlling a vaccine that can help save lives shouldn’t be in the hands of the lucky few alone.”
Harry alleged that experts told them that “vaccines are bought and stored by rich countries, and later sent to developing countries, often when they are close to expiration and it is already too late. Dose sharing commitments are so important and appreciated. But it can’t just be a charity. It is a fundamental question of human rights.
Meghan said the experts “shared that how the vaccine is distributed and to whom it is distributed should be left to independent international organizations who know exactly where doses are needed most. Just think of the millions of vaccines that have been thrown away this year. It’s like throwing in life jackets when those around you are drowning.
Prince Harry added: “My wife and I believe that the way you were born should not dictate your ability to survive.”
Basic human rights
He then asked the citizens of the world gathered in Central Park: “Do you think we should start treating vaccine access like? basic human rights? ”The crowd – eating from their hands – totally agreed.
The Global Citizen Live concert in Central Park aims to push for greater action to fight climate change and to urge rich countries to share a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines with countries that need it most. Over a 24-hour period, concerts are held in Paris, New York, Los Angeles and other cities.
One of the movement’s missions is to get the G7 and the EU to support South Africa and India’s proposal to forgo intellectual property around the production of COVID-19 vaccines and other medical tools – already supported by more than 100 countries.
Linda Thomas Greenfield, US Ambassador to the UN, joined Prince Harry and Meghan on stage. She reiterated that President Joe Biden had announced that an additional 500 million doses of the vaccine would be sent by the United States to other parts of the world, for a total of 1.1 billion doses administered by the United States.
WATCH President Macron’s message on Global Citizen Live, supporting more vaccines for Africa
I know you’re in the middle of a HUGE gig, I’m stealing two minutes of your time to get you some messages on vaccines, green economic recovery and education. And then, my dear @edsheeran, the floor is yours ! pic.twitter.com/EpPUjFd4em
—Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 25, 2021
France is committed to doubling its doses from 60 million to 120 million doses. He said that for economic recovery Africa needs $ 100 billion, and pledged that France would give 20% of the money it receives from the IMF to the African continent. “If all the great powers did like France, we would reach $ 100 billion for Africa. France will also donate 330 million euros for the resumption of education in Africa, said President Macron.