The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be headlining an A-list event that has been likened to LiveAid, the 1985 concert that raised millions for famine relief in Africa (organised by Bob Geldof). The Sussexes will join the US President, Joe Biden, at a concert aimed at increasing the global vaccination effort. Taking place on Sunday 2 May in Los Angeles, the event will call on businesses to ‘donate dollars for doses’.
The Sussexes will be the ‘campaign chairs’ at Vax Live; what is hoped will be the ‘concert to reunite the world’. They are part of a glittering lineup that spans celebrities to politicians, from Emmanuel Macron to Jennifer Lopez via Selena Gomez, the host.
The event, that will be broadcast a week later, on 8 May, will form part of the drive to increase public confidence and uptake of the vaccine. Organisers are calling on G7 governments to share excess doses and on pharmaceutical companies to make vaccines available at not-for-profit prices. Participants will plea for commitment from governments, the private sector and philanthropists. The audience – all of whom will have been vaccinated – will be comprised of frontline healthcare and essential workers.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes declined to say whether or not they would appear in person or on screen. The Duchess of Sussex, 39, is heavily pregnant with their second child, a daughter, and about to start maternity leave. The child, a sister to Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, is thought to be due in June.
As reported by the Telegraph, the Duke and Duchess will deliver ‘an important global message for vaccine equity’ during the event. In a statement, the couple said: ‘Over the past year, our world has experienced pain, loss, and struggle, together. Now we need to recover and heal, together. We can’t leave anybody behind. We will all benefit, we will all be safer, when everyone everywhere has equal access to the vaccine. We must pursue equitable vaccine distribution, and in that, restore faith in our common humanity. This mission couldn’t be more critical or important.’
Other celebrities taking part in the concert from around the world will be the Sussexes’ and Oprah Winfrey’s friend, the CBS anchor Gayle King, actor Ben Affleck, model Chrissy Teigen and actor Sean Penn. It will be hosted by singer Selina Gomez and feature performances from Jennifer Lopez and the Foo Fighters.
The event is being organised by Global Citizen, an anti-poverty action group, in partnership with the White House’s ‘We Can Do This’ initiative to increase public confidence in vaccines. French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković will also appear at the concert to support the initiative, organisers say.
They will reportedly ask governments to pledge a total of $19 billion, the outstanding balance needed to get 1.8 billion vaccine doses plus tests and treatments to the world’s poorest countries by the end of this year. A trailer for Vax Live promised it would feature ‘big names and an even bigger message’. It will be recorded at SoFi stadium in Los Angeles, and air on 8 May across networks including ABC, CBS, and iHeartMedia radio stations.
As part of the campaign, Spain has already announced a donation of an estimated 7.5 million doses as soon as 50 per cent of the Spanish population is vaccinated.
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