COVID-19 vaccines: Biden, Macron seek 1.8 billion doses for Africa, others


International advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, has announced new additions to the line-up for VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, a broadcast and streaming special.

It said the event scheduled to hold on May 8, 2021, would be used to call on governments, the private sector and philanthropists to commit towards securing the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

It said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, would serve as campaign chairs for the event.

The organisation also said President Joe Biden of the United States and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris would make a featured appearance as part of the ‘We Can Do This’ national initiative to boost public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.

Global Citizen said as part of VAX LIVE, it was campaigning to support the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator initiative, including COVAX, a vaccine-sharing programme co-led by the World Health Organisation, to ensure global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

It said it would, during the special, call on governments, asking them to pledge a total of $19bn, the outstanding balance needed by the ACT-A to get 1.8 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses plus tests and treatments to the world’s poorest countries by the end of the year.

“As part of the campaign, Spain announced the donation of an estimated 7.5 million vaccine doses as soon as 50 per cent of the Spanish population is vaccinated. France announced starting the sharing of doses for health workers across Africa with an initial donation of 100,000 this month and, at least 500,000 by June.

“President Macron of France, Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada, and Prime Minister Plenković of Croatia will also make appearances, the organisation said in a statement titled, ‘Prince Harry and Meghan Markle join the Bidens, other world leaders for Global Citizen’s COVID vaccine benefit concert.’

“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,” the statement quoted Prince Harry and Meghan were quoted as saying.

Head of Music, Entertainment and Artist Relations at Global Citizen, Katie Hill, said, “We are truly grateful for the time, effort and energy that everyone has given to make VAX LIVE a reality within just a few months. We’re thrilled to be hosting Global Citizen’s first live event since the pandemic began alongside these incredible artists, entertainers and individuals who are donating their time to support our mission to achieve vaccine equity and build vaccine confidence globally.”

“I’m moved by the enthusiasm of every VAX LIVE participant to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic as we all work together to come back, safely.”

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