Prince Harry Pens Letter to Mark World AIDS Day, Praising Activists for “leading the call for COVID-19 vaccine equity”

Prince Harry Pens Letter to Mark World AIDS Day, Praising Activists for “leading the call for COVID-19 vaccine equity”

Prince Harry has written a letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of World Heath Organization – and UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima to mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday (December 1st). In the letter he commemorated the 40 years of AIDS and expressed his gratitude for the work accomplished to date. In the letter he stressed the need for COVID-19 vaccine equity, drawing from the lessons learned from HIV.

Prince Harry is a long-term activist in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Over the years has previously undergone public testing for HIV and even landed his voice to narrate a World Health Organization documentary about the disease. Yesterday (Wednesday, December 1) he wrote a letter, urging world health leaders to draw behavior from the fight against HIV to how we treat COVID-19.

“It is striking to now see the world’s leading AIDS activists are also leading the call for COVID-19 vaccine equity,” the Duke of Sussex wrote.

“Vaccinating the world is a test of our moral character and we are experiencing a spectacular failure when it comes to global vaccine equity. Similar to the AIDS crisis, we’ve yet again revealed over the past year, that the value of life depends on whether you were born and/or live in a rich nation, or a developing country.”

“We’ve known for some time (thanks to medical experts) that if we are unable to meet agreed targets to vaccinate 40% of every country’s population by the end of the year, and 70% by next September, potentially more dangerous COVID-19 variants are likely to arise. Yet, here we are.”

“While it’s too early to know the full extent of the risk that the Omicron variant poses, which we only know about thanks to the experts in Southern Africa identifying it, there is no doubt that its emergence is of deep concern. Now more than ever, the voiceless majority of the world needs to be heard, and the onus is on our leaders to end this pandemic. Anything less is self-defeating.” 

“It’s time to draw from the lessons we learned throughout the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” the Prince concluded. “Are we really comfortable repeating the failures of the past? Everything I’ve learned, from the youth of Sentebale, tells me not.  They see how repeating these mistakes is destructive and self-defeating, it is a betrayal of the next generation. Let’s spend today celebrating and building on the work of champions who turned what was once a death sentence into a manageable condition. Let’s spend tomorrow continuing our efforts to save lives and make a difference.”