Duke and Duchess of Sussex appeal to vaccine companies
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have urged pharmaceutical companies to do more to help those in developing countries gain access to coronavirus vaccinations.
The couple have written an open letter to the CEOs of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Norovax to ask them to "act with extraordinary purpose, responsibility, and leadership" and "use every possible measure to increase global supply" as part of their campaign to "ensure equitable vaccine access globally".
They wrote: "The world owes you gratitude for leading the successful development and manufacturing of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19. This was achieved in record time, amidst a once-in-a-century global pandemic. It’s truly a testament to what can be achieved when partners work together towards a shared goal.
"However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health, social, and economic inequality globally. The global vaccine rollout thus far further deepens these disparities, with the poorest and most marginalized populations most adversely impacted. As of May 1, over 80% of the 1.2 billion vaccine doses administered globally have occurred in high-and upper-middle-income countries while the very lowest-income countries have administered just 0.4%.
"As we are seeing in countries like India, the urgency to deliver doses now to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19 is only increasing. That’s why it is imperative that we ensure equitable vaccine access globally so that people are protected, economies can recover, and this global pandemic can be brought to an end everywhere.
"Therefore we, the undersigned, stand with Global Citizens who want to see COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers act with extraordinary purpose, responsibility, and leadership in response to this equity crisis."
Among their suggestions in the note, which was published by Global Citizen, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan suggested "the temporary suspension of intellectual property and extraordinary global public-private collaboration resulting in wider transfer of technology and know-how".
They also urged Pfizer and Moderna bosses to follow the lead of Astra Zeneca - who have vowed not to profit from the vaccine during the pandemic - and supply at least 100 million doses of the jab at "not-for-profit" prices, and for the manufacturers to speed up their offering for the COVAX global vaccine initiative.
They ended the note by appealing for all the companies to "work collaboratively" for the greater good.
They wrote: "We call on each of you to end your opposition to these measures and work collaboratively with the global community to achieve universal access.
"If we work together in the global public interest, we will save lives at risk and we will defeat this deadly pandemic.
"Thank you for your consideration of this request."