During an appearance at Saturday’s Global Citizen Live event in New York City, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry called for coronavirus vaccine equity. Markle emphasized that the coronavirus vaccine is not available to billions of people around the world.
“Every single person on this planet has a fundamental right to get this vaccine. That’s the point, but that’s not happening,” Markle said (via People magazine.)
“And while in this country and many others, you can go almost anywhere and get vaccinated, billions of people around the world cannot,” she continued. “This year, the world’s expected to produce enough doses to meet the target of vaccinating 70% of people in every single country. But it is wrong that so much of the vaccine supply has only gone to just 10 wealthy nations so far, and not everyone else. It’s just not OK.”
Prince Harry called out “ultra-wealthy pharmaceutical companies” for “not sharing” the information needed for vaccine production.
“Guys, we have what we need to vaccinate the world, but the experts told us, here’s what’s getting in the way,” Harry 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.”
“These countries have the means, the ability and the workers to start manufacturing. All they’re waiting for is the vaccine intellectual property to be waived and for the vaccine technology to be transferred over. And by the way, many of these vaccines were publicly funded. They are your vaccines, you paid for them.”
The presence of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was part of a 24-hour effort to highlight the lack of vaccine equity. The Global Citizen Live event urged the G7 and the European Union to commit to providing at least one billion immunizations to the world’s poorest countries.
The royal couple also demanded that independent international organisations be given the authority to assess which countries are in the most desperate need of assistance.