Celebrities Come Together for Equitable COVID-19 Vaccine DistributionPrince Harry, Jennifer Lopez and other A-list celebrities join to push for more equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution globally. Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World is a concert organized by Global Citizen and aired globally on May 8.

The Organization

Global Citizen typically focuses its efforts on eliminating severe poverty. However, due to the rise of health and economic deprivation in developing nations during the pandemic, it has become involved with COVID-19 vaccine equality and COVID-19 relief efforts.

The CEO of Global Citizen, Hugh Evans, has spoken about the issues the organization aims to address with the concert event. “There are 27 million healthcare workers globally who don’t have access to the vaccine,” Evans told The Associated Press. “I’m 38 years old, and it’s not ethical for me to have access to the vaccine before these heroic first responders and community health workers. So we need governments to start urgently donating those doses.”

The Event

Singer, actress and producer, Selena Gomez was the host of the globally televised event, which aimed to raise $22 billion for global vaccinations. Many frontline medical workers attended the event, arriving dressed in their work uniforms.

Performances included the Foo Fighters and Eddie Vedder. There were appearances from the likes of Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman and Ben Affleck. There were also special messages from President Joe Biden, First Lady Biden and Pope Francis. These big names all came together to help fill the gaps in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Cause

The rise of cases in India has emphasized the country’s lack of vaccine distribution. Since June 8, there have been 29 million cases with more than 350,000 deaths. India is one of the most prominent vaccine manufacturers in the world. Although vaccinations are open to all ages now, massive shortages are causing people to be turned away.

Low-to-middle-income countries do not have access to vaccines as developed countries stockpile vaccines. In fact, the United States has more than 550 million excess doses of the vaccine. Furthermore, developed countries will need to allow drug manufacturers to prioritize developing countries.

However, there is hope as nonprofits and NGOs continue to push for equal distribution of the vaccines. Global Citizen hopes to help vaccinate all healthcare workers by the end of 2021. The concert event, Vax Live, lobbied world leaders to come together to achieve equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The event also raised the funding required to send two billion vaccine doses and COVID-19 tests to low-income countries by the end of 2021. “This is not ‘Mission Accomplished,’” said Evans. “But there is light at the end of the tunnel if we can ensure that there is equitable distribution of the vaccine.”

– Simran Pasricha
Photo: Wikimedia Commons