Prince Harry Says Vaccine 'Misinformation Is A Global Humanitarian Crisis'

by Erica Gerald Mason
Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Prince Harry discussed two pandemics the world faces in 2021: The coronavirus outbreak and an outbreak of misinformation

Prince Harry’s initial statement at the Vax Live concert on Saturday May 8, 2021 made headlines as the royal centered the importance of kindness and empathy for the pain of others amid the COVID pandemic. Along with his wife, Meghan Markle, Harry served as a co-chair for Global Citizens Vax Live: The Concert To Reunite The World. The royal made multiple appearances during the event, but it was his second major speech of the night that struck a chord with Americans as he discussed vaccine hesitancy and the threat of vaccine misinformation, which he called a “global humanitarian crisis.”

During his second speech, Harry tackled a matter close to his and Meghan’s hearts: The spread of vaccine misinformation on the web and in some corners of the media (hint: Fox News).

“I understand why people are confused, or sometimes don’t know what to think or believe about vaccines,” Harry stated to the audience of frontline and essential workers who attended the fully vaccinated concert held last week in Los Angeles.

“Misinformation is not harming only those who believe it, but also those who don’t,” he added. “If vaccine equity moves half as quickly as misinformation, just imagine how many lives could be saved.”

“We are experiencing a viral pandemic, alongside a digital pandemic. And much like the virus, there are no borders online. So when vaccine misinformation and disinformation spreads, magnified on social media and in parts of traditional media, it exposes a collective threat to humanity. As long as nations struggle with COVID-19. We all struggle with it,” Harry added. “I believe [vaccine] misinformation is a global humanitarian crisis.”

Earlier in the telecast, Harry urged viewers to be compassionate and empathic with those suffering globally amid the outbreak of coronavirus.

“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,” Prince Harry said. “The mission in front of us is one we cannot afford to fail at 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.”

As he continued to speak about the importance of looking after each other and ensuring that those outside the U.S. have equitable access to the vaccine, Harry offered a new perspective. “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,” said Harry.

“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.”

Earlier in the week, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle asked for donations to a vaccination equity fund in honor of their son Archie’s second birthday. The couple worked behind the scenes to find corporate donors to match donations. Reportedly, the effort raised enough for 107 thousand vaccines globally.

To truly end this pandemic, everyone around the world needs to have access to the vaccine and in America, where there is now a surplus of vaccine, Americans need to do their part and get that shot in the arm.