Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan urge fans to donate to vaccine equity campaign for Archie's birthday

By Zach Harper

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are asking their fans to make a donation to an important COVID-19 vaccine equity campaign to celebrate Archie's second birthday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took to Archewell's website to make an appeal to fans on May 6, urging them to support the Global Citizen COVAX campaign.

Harry and Meghan started by telling fans they have been "deeply touched" and are "incredibly grateful" for what their fans have done for Archie's birthday in the past, and encouraged them to take action again this year.

"Our world continues to be on the path to recovery from COVID-19. Yet too many families are still struggling with the impact of this pandemic," their note reads.

"While some places are on the verge of healing, in so many parts of the world, communities continue to suffer. As of today, around 80 per cent of the nearly one billion COVID-19 vaccine shots that have been given were administered in wealthier countries. While we may feel that normalcy is around the corner, we remind ourselves that in much of the world, and especially in developing countries, vaccine distribution has effectively yet to start.

"We will not be able to truly recover until everyone, everywhere, has equal access to the vaccine. And with that intention, we are inviting you to contribute whatever you can – if you have the means to do so – to bring vaccines to families in the world's most vulnerable places."

The Sussexes asked people to make donations of US$5, which will be matched by the Mastercard Impact Fund, the Seadream Family Foundation and an unnamed public charity, for up to US$1 million each. They said that means if you contribute US$5, your donation automatically becomes US$20, which pays for four doses of vaccine.

Keep in mind some COVID-19 vaccines require two doses (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca), while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose product. So each donation of US$5 could end up helping between two to four people get immunized.

All donations will go toward GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance. It is a partnership between governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, vaccine industry, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other prominent philanthropists.

"We cannot think of a more resonant way to honour our son's birthday," the couple write. "If we all show up, with compassion for those we both know and don't know, we can have a profound impact. Even a small contribution can have a ripple effect."

Harry and Meghan's appeal has the potential to do a massive amount of good. The Sussex Squad, an online group of fans, has been very active in donating to charitable causes to support the Sussex family in the past.

In 2020, Harry and Meghan's fans raised nearly US$260,000 for the Campaign for Female Education in connection with Meghan's birthday.

The year before, the Sussex Squad held its Global Sussex Baby Shower Campaign in connection with Archie's birth. They raised US$35,000 for organizations and causes close to the couple's hearts.

We can't wait to watch Harry and Meghan during the VAX LIVE concert on May 8! Photos: © VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images and Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Global Citizen VAX LIVE

Harry and Meghan are set to make an appeal for vaccine equity on May 8, when the Global Citizen VAX LIVE concert is broadcast on YouTube.

The duke was on hand for its filming at Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium on May 2, and joined superstars such as Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Ben Affleck and more for the show. Meghan, who is pregnant with the couple's second child – a daughter – will appear via video during the broadcast.

During the taping, Harry also spoke out in support of vaccine equity, saying the world is at a "defining moment" in the pandemic.

"This pandemic cannot end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity," he said.

"None of us should be comfortable thinking that we could be fine when so many others are suffering. In reality – and especially with this pandemic – when any suffer, we all suffer. We must look beyond ourselves with empathy and compassion for those we know, and those we don't. We need to lift up all of humanity and make sure that no person or community is left behind."

A man is given a dose of the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine in Mumbai, India on May 6. Photo: © Imtiyaz Shaikh/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The concert took place as India has been hit by a skyrocketing number of coronavirus cases and deaths. On May 6, the country recorded about 410,000 new cases in a single day, along with 3,980 deaths, according to The New York Times.

The VAX LIVE show also urges those watching to get vaccinated themselves, if they haven't already done so. While more than half of Americans have received at least one COV1D-19 vaccination dose, inoculation rates are declining, according to The New York Times. A new poll also suggests the United States is "nearing the limit of people planning to get immunized."

So far in Canada, just under 15 million people – just shy of 36 per cent of the population – have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose, according to CBC News. About 2.75 per cent of our total population has been fully vaccinated.

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