Prince Harry Makes Impassioned Speech at Vax Live Concert: 'This Pandemic Cannot End Unless We Act Collectively'
Harry, 36, — who is expecting his second child, a baby girl, with his wife this summer — took part in the taping of Global Citizen's VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World on Sunday. It marked his first appearance back in the U.S. since his late grandfather Prince Philip's funeral and the couple's interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in March. Meghan was not in attendance.
"Hi everybody. We are at a defining moment in the global fight against COVID-19. Tonight is a celebration of each of you here, the vaccinated frontline workers in the audience and the millions of frontline heroes around the world," he said in his address. "You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm's way and with bravery knowing the costs. We owe you an incredible depth of gratitude, thank you.
"But we're also coming together because 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. The mission in front of us is one we cannot afford to fail out and that's what tonight is about. 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," Harry continued.
"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. What we do in this moment will stand in history and tonight, we stand in solidarity with the millions of families across India who are battling a devastating second wave," he concluded.
Harry and Meghan, 39, are serving as Campaign Chairs of VAX Live, which "aims to inspire vaccine confidence worldwide and help get the COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, everywhere" according to a statement by Global Citizen.
Global Citizen's VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World, which will be hosted by Selena Gomez, will feature appearances by President Joe Biden along with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn and Sean Penn.
"Over the past year, our world has experienced pain, loss and struggle – together. Now we need to recover and heal – together," Meghan and Harry said in a previous statement. "We can't leave anybody behind. We will all benefit, we will all be safer, when everyone, everywhere has equal access to the vaccine."
They continued, "We must pursue equitable vaccine distribution and, in that, restore faith in our common humanity. The mission couldn't be more critical or important."
The event was recorded on Sunday at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. It will be broadcast on May 8.
Harry recently returned to California after traveling to the U.K. to attend the April 17 funeral for Prince Philip. Meghan and their son Archie, who turns 2 on May 6, did not make the trip across the pond.
"Meghan spoke with Harry before his grandfather's funeral," a source told PEOPLE. "Meghan and Archie also spoke with the Queen."
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