Taking to the stage, Prince Harry urged pharmaceutical companies to waive their intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines, describing the pandemic as a “human rights crisis”.
“We’re battling more than the virus alone, this is a battle of misinformation, bureaucracy, lack of transparency and lack of access and, above all, this is a human rights crisis,” he said.
Harry and Meghan said they had spoken with experts about the pandemic and the issue of vaccine equity.
“They said many countries are ready to produce vaccines at home yet they aren’t allowed to because ultra-wealthy pharmaceutical companies are not sharing the recipes to make them,” Harry began.
He said these countries have the “means, the ability and the workers” to manufacture vaccines, but are still waiting for vaccine intellectual property rights to be waived.
“By the way, many of these vaccines were publicly funded. They are your vaccines, you paid for them,” he added.
Meghan told the crowd that “every single person on this planet has a fundamental right to get this vaccine”.
She said it was “wrong that so much of the vaccine supply has only gone to just 10 wealthy nations so far and not everyone else”.
“While in this country and many others you can go almost anywhere and get vaccinated, billions around the world cannot.
“These experts shared that how the vaccine is distributed, and who it’s distributed to, should be left to independent international organisations who know exactly where the doses are most needed.
“Just think about the millions of vaccines that have been discarded this year. That’s like throwing away life vests, when those around you are drowning,” she said.
The couple arrived in New York on Thursday, when they visited the One World Trade Center. It marked their first public appearance since the birth of their daughter Lilibet in June.
Before their appearance at the Global Citizen Live concert, Meghan and Harry met with Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the UN.
Ms Mohammed, the former environment minister for Nigeria, shared a picture from the meeting on Twitter, writing: “In conversation with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
“Sharing how to engage on issues we care about deeply: climate action, women’s economic empowerment, mental well-being, youth engagement and vaccine equity.”
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