Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have partnered with WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to address the leaders at the G20 Summit over the lack of access to COVID-19 vaccines in low-income countries.

Ahead of the meeting in Rome this weekend, which will be the first in-person G20 Summit since the pandemic, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex published an open letter on WHO’s website that stated, “Of the almost 7 billion doses that have been administered globally, just 3 percent of people in low-income countries have had a jab so far. Where are the rest?”

The statement continued, “COVAX, the initiative designed to help achieve fair global access to COVID vaccines, has been promised 1.3 billion doses to be donated for the low-income countries it supports, yet it has been able to ship only 150 million — 11.5 percent — to date. Where are the rest?”

The letter called out a “handful” of countries at the G20 Summit who have “millions of surplus vaccines that are destined to be wasted once they expire.” The royals added that discarded vaccines “should outrage us all.”

They wrote, “Each dose represents a real person — a mother, father, daughter, or son — who could have been protected. Each of us come from very different places, backgrounds, and life experiences, but we share a common goal: to tackle global inequity.”

Markle, Prince Harry, and the WHO director-general referenced the global target to “vaccinate 40 percent of all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by the middle of next year.” The statement listed four steps that must be followed in order to accomplish this goal, including “fully [funding] the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator so it can carry out its vital work of providing vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments to the most vulnerable people on the planet — from older populations and health workers to refugees.”

They concluded the letter with, “Cooperation of historic proportion is the only solution. Lives literally depend on it.”

The couple, who have recently spoken out about other humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and Haiti, previously teamed up with Vax Live and Global Citizen in September to support vaccine equity and stop the spread of vaccine misinformation. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *