The Duke Of Sussex called out misinformation campaign around the vaccine: ‘This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome COVID – 19 and the rise of new variants’.
Parince Harry urged global governments and leaders in both the pharmaceutical and business industries to do their part in ensuring that vaccination education and access are available to everyone around the global amid a rise in COVID – 19 cases and new variants.
The Duke of Sussex made his plea at the 24th British GQ Men Of The Year Awards while presenting the GW’s Heroes Of The Year honor to the team of scientists behind the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which were led by Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and Dr. Catherine Green. The speech celebrated the scientists rapid work around the life – saving vaccine and addressed the necessity for increased vaccine access.
‘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. That’s a common refrain my wife and I have heard in convenings with vaccine experts, heads of industry, community advocates and global leaders’, he said.
Speaking directly to the room, Prince Harry noted that while at leat ‘a third of the global population has received at least one dose of the vaccine’ – the equivalent of over five billion shots – that major accomplishment comes alongside a majority disparity in who actually has access to it. During the speech, he shared that ‘less than two percent of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point, and many of their healthcare workers are still not even vaccinated’. He then called on communities to address the imbalance ‘as one’ in order to ‘move forward together’.
The duke also tackled the misinformation that has spread across various media types, which he said hinders individuals’ ability to trust science and increasingly dividing communities.
‘[F]amilies around the world are being overwhelmed by mass – scale misinformation across ‘news’ media and social media, where those who peddle in lies and fear are creating vaccine hesitancy, which in turn is dividing communities and eroding trust’, he said. ‘This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome COVID-19 and the rise of new variants’.
In the final moments of his speech, the duke called on global and industry leaders to continue sharing their work and ensuring developing countries can also be empowered and access the shot.
‘For the rest of us – including global governments, pharmaceutical leaders, and heads of business – we have to keep doing our part. That must include sharing vaccine science and supporting and empowering developing countries with more flexibility. When you’re born should not affect your ability to survive, when the drugs and know – how exist to keep you alive and well’.