Prince Harry hit the stage at the VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World on Sunday. The Duke of Sussex delivered a speech calling for equitable vaccine distribution at the star-studded event, which marked his first public appearance since his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral last month.
“Hi everybody. We are at a defining moment in the global fight against COVID-19. Tonight is a celebration of each of you here, the vaccinated frontline workers in the audience and the millions of frontline heroes around the world,” Harry said in his remarks, according to People magazine. “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.”
The Duke stressed that the “pandemic cannot 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. 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,” Harry said.
Queen Elizabeth’s grandson concluded his speech saying, “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. 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.”
Harry and Meghan Markle are both campaign chairs of Vax Live, a campaign that is calling on businesses to donate dollars for doses via COVAX, wealthy governments to share excess doses immediately with COVAX, and for pharmaceutical companies like Moderna to make vaccines available at not-for-profit prices.
In a previously released statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex 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.”
Meghan, who is pregnant with her second child, did not attend the concert with her husband, per People magazine. VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World was taped at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on May 2. The music event, featuring performances by Jennifer Lopez, J Balvin and more, will air and livestream Saturday, May 8, on ABC, ABC News Live, CBS, YouTube, iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations and the iHeartRadio App at 8 p.m. ET. The concert will also air on FOX at 11 p.m. ET and YouTube will stream an extended version of VAX LIVE on the Global Citizen channel.