The Duke of Sussex called on pharmaceutical companies to give up their intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccines as he said the pandemic was becoming a ‘human rights crisis’.
Prince Harry, alongside his wife Meghan Markle, took to the stage in New York City as part of Global Citizen Live, a 24-hour event calling on world leaders to adopt a vaccine equity policy.
Artists such as Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Lizzo were also on hand which included events in Lagos, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rio, Seoul and Sydney.
“We are fighting more than the virus alone, it is a battle of disinformation, bureaucracy, lack of transparency and lack of access and, most importantly, it is a human rights crisis,” said Harry.
Harry and Meghan said they spoke to experts about the pandemic and vaccine equity issues around the world.
“They said that many countries are willing to produce vaccines at home but are not allowed to do so because the ultra-rich pharmaceutical companies do not share the proceeds to make them,” Harry said.
âThese countries have the means, the capacity and the workers to go into manufacturing. All they are waiting for is the relinquishment of the intellectual property of the vaccine and the transfer of vaccine technology.
âA lot of these vaccines have been funded by the state. These are your vaccines, you paid for them.
Ahead of their appearance, the couple spoke with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed about vaccines and other areas they “care deeply about,” including climate action and mental health.
Mohammed, Nigeria’s former environment minister, then tweeted a photo of the group, saying: “In conversation with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – sharing how to engage on issues close to our hearts: climate action, women’s economic empowerment, mental well-being, youth engagement and vaccine equity â.
Harry and Meghan’s visit is their first public appearance together since the birth of their daughter Lilibet in June.
Meghan told the crowd that “every person on this planet has the basic right to receive this vaccine.”
âWhile in this country and many others you can go almost anywhere and get vaccinated, billions of people around the world cannot,â she said.
âIt is wrong that such a large part of the vaccine supply has so far only gone to 10 rich countries and not everyone. It’s just not OK.
âJust think of the millions of vaccines that have been thrown away this year. It’s like throwing in life jackets, when those around you are drowning.