When I saw all of the Prince Harry/Vax Live headlines this morning, I was genuinely like “oh no, I missed it, I can’t believe no one reminded me!” I didn’t miss it. No one missed it. Prince Harry was doing a pre-taped speech for the Vax Live concert, which will be broadcast May 8th. They were recording it last night at the SoFi Stadium in LA. The reason we know everything about his speech and appearance is because A) apparently there were photographers there and B) there was an in-person audience of vaccinated health care workers and frontline workers. While Harry and Meghan are co-chairs and probably did a lot to help this event come together, Harry was seemingly the only one to speak at the event, and Meghan might have stayed home. Here’s his speech:
“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. 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.
“But we’re also coming together because this 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 continued.
“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,” he concluded.
Harry and Meghan, 39, are serving as Campaign Chairs of VAX Live, which “aims to inspire vaccine confidence worldwide and help get the COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, everywhere” according to a statement by Global Citizen.
This is such a tricky moment in the pandemic, with India facing a crushing surge of deadly infections and Western countries facing the fact that significant parts of their populations don’t WANT to get vaccinated. There’s uneven distribution from country to country, and I know America is being accused of vaccine-hoarding (fwiw, Biden seems to be correcting that). I’m glad that there are larger public health campaigns (like this one) ringing the bell for vaccine justice, getting more vaccines to “poorer” countries and all of that.
As for Harry… well, there’s a reason why I used People Magazine as a source. I skimmed the Daily Mail’s coverage and they were in full meltdown mode, claiming that Harry wants to be treated “like a rock star” and mocking him for… talking about compassion in a pandemic. No, really. That will surely make him run back to England! You’re doing great, DM.
Photos courtesy of Getty.