Prince Harry made a special virtual appearance during Wednesday night’s GQ Men of the Year Awards.
The Duke of Sussex joined the London award show live from his home in California to present the annual Heroes of the Year Award to the scientists behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Harry, who suited up in a sleek black tuxedo for the occasion, shined the spotlight on the amazing work Professor Sarah Gilbert, Dr. Catherine Green and their team did to create the vaccine. He also praised them for approaching “their mission with a humanitarian urgency,” as they sent some of their work to researchers in India during the process.
“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,” the royal said of the importance of working together globally, per GQ. “That’s a common refrain my wife and I have heard in convenings with vaccine experts, heads of industry, community advocates, and global leaders.”
“As people sit in the room with you tonight, more than a third of the global population has received at least one dose of the vaccine,” he continued. “That’s more than five billion shots given around the world so far. It sounds like a major accomplishment, and in many ways is. But there is a huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine. 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. We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one.”
Harry also spoke out about the widespread misinformation that he says is responsible for making many wary of getting vaccinated.
“Families 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. This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome COVID-19 and the rise of new variants,” he stressed.
Harry’s powerful message comes two weeks after he and wife Meghan Markle shared a message addressing the pandemic and other compounding global crises.
“The world is exceptionally fragile right now,” the post, which was shared on their Archewell Foundation website, began.
“As we all feel the many layers of pain due to the situation in Afghanistan, we are left speechless. As we all watch the growing humanitarian disaster in Haiti, and the threat of it worsening after last weekend’s earthquake, we are left heartbroken. And as we all witness the continuing global health crisis, exacerbated by new variants and constant misinformation, we are left scared,” it continued.
Meghan and Harry added, “When any person or community suffers, a piece of each of us does so with them, whether we realize it or not. And though we are not meant to live in a state of suffering, we, as a people, are being conditioned to accept it. It’s easy to find ourselves feeling powerless, but we can put our values into action — together.”
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