Prince Harry appeared virtually to present a prize to Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Professor Catherine Green and the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, who he hailed as “heroes of the highest order”.
Wearing a black velvet tuxedo, Harry took the opportunity to call for greater vaccine equality for poorer countries around the world, warning “until every community can access the vaccine and until every community is connected to trustworthy information about the vaccine, then we are all at risk”.
He said: “As people sit in the room with you tonight, more than a third of the global population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. That’s more than five billion shots given around the world so far.
Noting that while this may sound like a “major accomplishment”, he added that there was a “huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine”.
He added: “Less than two per cent of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point. And many of the healthcare workers are still not vaccinated.
“We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one. At the same time, families around the world are being overwhelmed by masses of misinformation across news media and social media, where those who peddle in lies and fear are creating vaccine hesitancy, which in turn leads to divided communities and eroding trust.
“This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome Covid-19 and the risk of new variants.”
Emphasising the collective need for all countries and companies to share vaccine science, he stated that “where you are born should not affect your ability to survive when the drugs and know-how exist to keep you alive and well.”
The occasion marked Prince Harry’s second public appearance since he and wife Meghan Markle welcomed the birth of their daughter, Lilibet.
In August, the Duke participated in a charity polo match to raise money for Sentebale, a mental health charity that supports young people affected by AIDS in Lesotho and Botswana.
The father of two was pictured back in the saddle, scoring two goals for his team and leading them to a 3-0 victory.
Harry said the match, which raised almost $3.5 million (£2.5m) in total, was “critical to securing the funds needed to advance” the charity’s aim.
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