World leaders, celebs join forces to support vaccine equity

28 April 2021 - 09:49 By Khanyisile Ngcobo
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have joined VAX LIVE as campaign chairs.
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have joined VAX LIVE as campaign chairs.
Image: Reuters

Global Citizen has rallied world leaders, royalty and celebrities for a star-studded concert aimed at raising funds and awareness on vaccine equity.

VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World will be broadcast on May 8 and will see celebrities and leaders like US president Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, US vice-president Kamala Harris and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, speak on the importance of making vaccines more accessible.

They will be joined by French president Emmanuel Macron, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenković.

The concert's aim is to urge “governments to donate doses and resources to address the world’s coronavirus needs”.

“The broadcast special will call on world leaders to pledge a total of $19bn (R273bn) — the outstanding balance needed by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ACT-Accelerator to get 1.8 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses, as well as tests and treatments, to the world’s poorest countries by the end of 2021,” Global Citizen said in a statement shared on its site.

The concert will be hosted by singer and actor Selena Gomez and will include performances from Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin, and H.E.R.

Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn and Sean Penn will also join in to speak about vaccine equity.

Campaign chairs Prince Harry and Meghan said, “Over the past year, our world has experienced pain, loss, and struggle — together. Now we need to recover and heal — together.

“We can’t leave anybody behind. We will all benefit, we will all be safer, when everyone, everywhere has equal access to the vaccine. We must pursue equitable vaccine distribution, and in that, restore faith in our common humanity. This mission couldn’t be more critical or important.”

The VAX LIVE concert will be broadcast on SABC in SA and on MultiChoice across the rest of the continent. YouTube will stream an extended version on Global Citizen's channel.