rince Harry and Duchess Meghan believe that inequitable vaccine distribution is a human rights crisis.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex gave a passionate joint speech in favor of global vaccine equity earlier today at the New York event for Global Citizen Live at the Great Lawn in Central Park. The couple called for equal global vaccine distribution, imploring world leaders and pharmaceutical companies to treat access to the COVID-19 vaccine as "basic human rights."
For the televised event, Duchess Meghan wore an elegant white shift dress by Valentino, embellished with floral designs at the collars, sleeves, and hem, with black heels and minimal jewelry. Prince Harry opted for a white button-up shirt with the collar worn open under a tailored black suit.
"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," Duchess Meghan said.
Prince Harry also shared a summary of the Duke and Duchess' discussions regarding vaccine distribution with world health experts over the past year. The couple also met with world leaders during several meetings in NYC these past few days.
"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 are waiting for is the vaccine intellectual property to be waived and for the vaccine technology to be transferred over," he said.
Duchess 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 also shared a cute moment during the serious speech, with the crowd cheering as Harry referred to Meghan as "my wife." They exchanged a brief embrace before he continued, "My wife and I believe that where you’re born should not dictate your ability to survive." They also stood hand in hand for the rest of the speech.
This year's Global Citizen Live event is a 24-hour, performance-packed broadcast meant to raise funds and awareness for vaccine equity across the globe. The Global Citizen Live campaign is also calling on G-7 countries and the European Union to immediately distribute one billion COVID-19 vaccines to the countries who need them most.
"This pandemic will not end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity. The vaccine must be distributed to everyone, everywhere. We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world," Harry said at the May event.
Watch the Sussexes' full Global Citizen Live speech below:
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