On Thursday, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wrapped up their first day in New York City by meeting with some of the biggest names in global health policy, including Chelsea Clinton. The pair traveled to the World Health Organization’s offices in the United Nations building to discuss the disparities between wealthy and developing nations when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine access, along with other issues of global health. They also discussed ways to spread accurate information about the vaccine.
“In this room, we had a number of the foremost leaders on public health, pandemic preparedness, scientific progress, and community building,” Harry and Meghan said in a joint statement. “Today’s meeting was a much-appreciated opportunity to learn from some of the most-respected experts who are working tirelessly to end this pandemic. Building on ongoing conversations we’ve had with global leaders over the past 18 months, today further reinforced our commitment to vaccine equity. We’re so encouraged by the spirit of collaboration we heard throughout our conversation and are eager to do our part.”
They were joined by a group that included Clinton, who is the vice-chair of her family’s foundation, Stewart Simonson, the WHO’s assistant director-general, Loyce Pace, Director of Global Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, and Anil Soni, the WHO Foundation CEO. The WHO’s director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus joined the meeting virtually, as did Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, the UN’s Under-Secretary General Winnie Byanyima, and representatives of global health organizations from around the world.
Ghebreyesus praised Meghan and Harry for their activism on the issue. “We’re grateful to The Duke of Duchess of Sussex for working with us to bring together this critical conversation,” he said. “We are at an important crossroads for vaccinating the world. It is only with collaboration, coordination, transparency, and creative thinking that we can make it through this pandemic together.”
Earlier on Friday, Meghan and Harry joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul at One World Observatory to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The couple is making their first joint trip to New York City to discuss vaccine equity at the Global Citizen Live on Saturday. Promoting access to vaccines in developing nations has become one of their signature issues over the course of the year, and in May, Harry spoke at the organization’s VAX Live event.
“This pandemic cannot end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity,” he said. “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.”
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