On Saturday, May 8, countless viewers tuned in to watch Global Citizen's Vax Live concert. The purpose of the event was to stress the importance of global vaccine equity, as well as encourage people to get their vaccinations as soon as they’re able to. To raise awareness about the issues at hand, celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Jimmy Kimmel, and Ben Affleck made appearances throughout the night. While fans of the royal family knew Prince Harry was going to deliver a speech, they were surprised to see Meghan Markle in attendance, albeit virtually. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's speeches at the Vax Live concert had everyone talking.
After Meghan missed Prince Philip's funeral on April 17 due to being advised by her doctor not to travel while pregnant, fans assumed she wouldn't attend the Vax Live concert either. Their suspicions were all but confirmed on Sunday, May 2, when Harry was spotted alone at the show's taping. He delivered a moving speech thanking the "frontline heroes" for all they've done during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as emphasizing the importance of global vaccine equity.
"This pandemic cannot end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity. The vaccine must be distributed to everyone everywhere. We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world," Harry said. "The virus does not respect borders and access to the vaccine cannot be determined by geography. It must be accepted as a basic right for all and that is our starting point."
When the full broadcast finally aired on May 8, Harry took the stage for a second time to address how the spread of misinformation has fueled rising "vaccine hesitancy" in recent months.
"If vaccine distribution moved half as quickly as misinformation, just imagine how many lives could be saved. I understand why people are confused, or sometimes don't know what to think or believe about vaccines," he said, arguing that like COVID, there are no borders online.
"So when vaccine misinformation and disinformation spreads, magnified on social media and in parts of traditional media, it exposes a collective threat to humanity. I believe that misinformation is a global humanitarian crisis," Harry added.
Meghan also delivered her own virtual speech at the event, which emphasized the importance of prioritizing everyone during coronavirus pandemic — especially women who have been disproportionately affected. "Women, and especially women of color, have seen a generation of economic gain wiped out. Since the pandemic began, nearly five-and-a-half million women have lost work in the U.S. And 47 million more women around the world are expected to slip into extreme poverty," she said.
Meghan concluded by mentioning her and Harry's goals for achieving better equity for women around the world have only been further inspired by their unborn daughter. "When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and the support to lead us forward," she continued. "Their future leadership depends on the decisions we make and the actions we take now to set them up, and set all of us up, for a successful, equitable, compassionate tomorrow. We want to make sure that as we recover, we recover stronger. That as we rebuild, we rebuilt together."