Prince Harry praised by Oxford/AZ scientists over speech – ‘Said things we wanted to say!’

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Prince Harry has been applauded by Dr Catherine Green and Dame Sarah Gilbert for delivering a message on vaccine equity they fully support. Earlier this week, the Duke of Sussex made a surprise appearance at GQ Men of the Year Awards.

Harry did not fly across the pond to attend the ceremony taking place in London but called in from his mansion in California.

Donning a tuxedo, the Duke presented the GQ Heroes of the Year Award to Dr Catherine Green, Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and the team who developed the Oxford/AZ vaccine.

In his speech, Harry warned it is vital everyone in the world is offered the vaccine against coronavirus to neutralise the pandemic.

And his message was fully endorsed by the two leading scientists in attendance at the awards.

Following the ceremony, Dr Green reacted to being presented the award by Prince Harry.

She said: “I know, we didn’t know that was going to happen.

“So suddenly Prince Harry is on stage and he said all of the things we wanted to say about the essential necessity to get the vaccine to the world for people irrespectively of their ability to pay. Really important message.”

Dame Sarah added: “Yes, because we are not going to be safe until everyone is safe, and it is really important to get the vaccine to everyone around the world.”

Dame Sarah and Dr Green’s team developed a vaccine that can be stored at higher temperatures than other jabs against COVID-19 and costs far less.

These characteristics allow it to be distributed more easily around the world – as Dame Sarah explained during a video call with Prince William in late November last year, shortly after it was announced the Oxford/AZ jab had been deemed highly effective.

She told the Duke of Cambridge, who had visited the Oxford lab to learn more about the vaccine in June 2020, via video call: “This vaccine should do what we have always wanted it to do, we wanted a vaccine for the world, not just for high-income countries, not just for this country.

“We are not safe until we are all safe.”

In his speech, Prince Harry relayed a very similar message, saying: “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.

“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.

“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.”

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle have been campaigning for vaccine equity throughout 2021.

They served as campaign chairs of the VAX LIVE concert organised by Global Citizen in May in California.

In this role, they led a coordinated drive across the private sector to raise critical funds for COVAX — a vaccine-sharing programme co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Moreover, they launched an appeal on the second birthday of their son Archie, which ended up raising more than $3 million to the cause of vaccine equity and the worldwide fight against COVID-19.

Harry also attended the concert in person to press on the importance of distributing vaccines around the world, while Meghan, who at the time was pregnant with Lilibet Diana, shared a video message.

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