Prince Harry received a standing ovation at a charity event in Los Angeles as he called for coronavirus vaccines to be distributed to "everyone everywhere". The royal walked out on stage with his name appearing on a giant screen and a crowd roaring as if they were greeting a rock star.
The Duke of Sussex then addressed the crowd of fully vaccinated medics, thanking them for their hard work during the pandemic.
"You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm's way, and acted with bravery, knowing the costs. We owe you an incredible debt of gratitude. Thank you", the royal said.
Prince Harry then called for the equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines, emphasising that the world wouldn’t be able to deal with the pandemic unless the inoculations are delivered to "every corner of the world".
"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", the Duke of Sussex said.
At the end of his speech, the royal spoke about the danger of disinformation during the coronavirus pandemic and in general, which the royal described as a "humanitarian crisis".
This was Prince Harry’s first public appearance since the funeral of his grandfather Prince Philip and since he and his wife Meghan Markle gave a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey, in which the couple made sensational claims about the royal family. Meghan, who is pregnant with their second baby, did not attend the event.
The charity event's concert was hosted by singer and actress Selena Gomez and featured a plethora of celebrities, who appeared on stage to promote coronavirus vaccines and raise donation for the COVAX initiative, a global vaccine alliance aimed at distributing inoculations among countries with middle and low-income.
Actors Ben Affleck and Sean Penn, TV hosts David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel spoke about the importance of equitable distribution of vaccines.
📷 | Ben Affleck e Jimmy Kimmel no Vax Live Concert After ontem (02/05/21) pic.twitter.com/OY5nS5gUx2— Batfleck Brasil (@BatfleckBrasil) May 3, 2021
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill, Pope Francis, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recorded video messages for the event.
Vax Live also featured performances by Foo Fighters, Jennifer Lopez, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, H.E.R., and J Balvin.
According to the organisers, the charity concert raised $53.8 million for COVAX, which will help to purchase almost 10.3 million vaccines.
The development comes following months of criticism from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations about the unfair distribution of inoculations against the coronavirus.
"Around 130 countries, with 2.5 billion people, are yet to administer a single dose", said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, commenting on the issue.