With support from the World Health Organisation, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Prime Minister of Italy and G20 Chair Mario Draghi, and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez, and the State of California, Vax Live executive produced by the Ad Council, YouTube Originals, iHeartMedia, Teneo and Live Nation to launch international appeal for the world’s poorest countries to be granted lifesaving access to Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments in 2021
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged his support for Global Citizen’s latest concert initiative, Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World. This global broadcast and streaming special on Saturday, 8 May 2021, will feature top artists from around the world performing live during a large-scale vaccination drive hosted on the grounds of SoFi Stadium, to draw attention to the need to vaccinate, end Covid-19 and kickstart a global economic recovery.
International advocacy organisation Global Citizen, known for its advocacy work and impactful campaigns in support of pressing social issues, is spearheading this event calling on world leaders to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. The focus is particularly on aiding African countries, many of which are lagging behind their more affluent Western neighbours in their Covid-19 vaccine rollouts.
With support from the World Health Organization (WHO), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Prime Minister of Italy and G20 Chair Mario Draghi, and Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez, and the State of California, the special, hosted by multi-platinum recording artist, actress and producer Selena Gomez, will include a night of musical performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin and H.E.R.
As the exclusive global streaming partner, YouTube will stream an extended version of Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World on the Global Citizen channel for a full run-time of 90 minutes, which will include additional performances and appearances by NCT 127 and YouTube creators Daniel el Travieso, Kati Morton, ShootforLove, Thembe Mahlaba and The Try Guys.
The Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World campaign includes policy partners: The World Health Organisation (WHO), The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), Gavi - The Vaccine Alliance, The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and UNITAID, and philanthropic partners: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy. The special is part of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World, a year-long campaign to end Covid-19 for all, end the hunger crisis, resume learning everywhere, protect the planet and advance equity for all.
The sad reality is that most African countries will not have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate at least 60% of their populations this year, which is what is needed to achieve herd immunity and defeat the virus. As a result, up to 49 million more African people could be pushed into poverty in 2021. This is why, as part of Vax Live, Global Citizen is campaigning to support the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative, including Covax, a vaccine-sharing programme co-led by the WHO, to ensure that lower-income countries can access enough Covid-19 vaccines to safeguard their citizens.
Global Citizen is calling on governments, companies and philanthropists to pledge the remaining $21.1 billion the ACT-Accelerator needs to get two billion Covid-19 vaccine doses, as well as tests and treatments, to countries that need them by the end of 2021.
A central part of this call to democratise vaccine access is raising enough “dollars-for-doses” to vaccinate the more than 27-million heroic health workers – 6.5-million in Africa alone – that are serving on the global frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic everyday.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “South Africa is fully behind this initiative to be part of a collective effort to recover after the devastating pandemic. The ‘Recovery Plan for the World’ is a good opportunity to get the international community working together to drive equitable access to vaccines for everyone, everywhere. Again, I urge world leaders to urgently free up excess supply for poorer countries. Today, the world is facing an unprecedented health, social and economic crisis. Now is the time to act in the interests of the whole world, now is the time to become truly global citizens.”
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said: “We will not see an end to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the shutdown to our economies without access to the people’s vaccine. To get this done, it is imperative that more resources are made available, that surpluses from wealthier nations are shared immediately with frontline workers in lower income countries and that the production of vaccines is accelerated. Considerable efforts have been made by the African Union envoy and it will take even greater international coordination and closer collaboration over the coming months to ensure that vaccines are made available to the world’s vulnerable people.”
Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said: "The proposed Five-Point Recovery plan, particularly the first objective of ending the pandemic, is very well aligned with the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for Covid-19 Outbreak adopted by the African ministers of health at the onset of the pandemic in February 2020. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has launched several initiatives to operationalise this strategy which include the ‘Africa Against Covid-19: Saving Lives, Economies and Livelihoods’ campaign, and the Partnership to Accelerate Covid-19 Testing in Africa (PACT)."
Her Excellency Graça Machel, said: "The Covid-19 vaccine is a human right for all. Vaccine equity is not just a public health concern, it is an issue of social justice and a matter of our collective survival. Nobody will be protected against Covid-19 until everybody is. There will be no socio-economic recovery for anyone, in any country, unless we prioritise an equal global public health response."
One year ago, Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill. The pandemic is still raging across the globe and dozens of countries are yet to receive a single dose of the vaccine. New variants of Covid-19 are emerging, some of which are vaccine resistant, and it is urgent that people everywhere get access to the care and vaccines they need.
“The World Health Organization is pleased to be partnering with Global Citizen in the fight against Covid-19,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Throughout the response to the pandemic, we have been grateful for the efforts and commitment shown by global citizens, health advocates and changemakers around the world to advocate for vaccine equity to protect the most vulnerable people, everywhere. WHO will continue to work closely with all nations and partners to help manage potential risks and use science and data to drive a targeted global response.”
To achieve global vaccine access and confidence, Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World aims to:
Executive Director for UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcukaadded that “over the past year, it has become increasingly clear that the Covid-19 pandemic is not just a health issue but also a social issue. This crisis has exacerbated existing inequalities across all aspects of life for women, girls and their communities.
“This pandemic provides us with an opportunity for radical, positive action to redress long-standing inequalities in multiple areas of women’s lives. In our joint pursuit to end the pandemic, we must make a conscious effort to centre the distribution of vaccines to women and tell more stories of building resilience as part of our gender responsive interventions. We cannot fully recover without a gender-focused response to Covid-19 and I’m glad to see Equity as a key focus area in the ‘Recovery Plan for the World’.”
With music stars joined on stage by global development advocates and changemakers, Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World will also celebrate a hopeful future as families and communities are finally able to reunite after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World will be pre-taped at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Airing and live streaming on Saturday, 8 May 2021, on ABC, ABC News Live, CBS, YouTube, iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations and the iHeartRadio App, Vax Live will start at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT. The concert will also air on FOX at 11:00pm ET/PT in the US.
“As a global community, we are in a race against time and the key to coming back together is the vaccine. We need to build vaccine confidence in the US and globally, and encourage people to take the vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Hugh Evans, Global Citizen Co-Founder & CEO. “There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but getting vaccines to everyone, everywhere regardless of who they are or where they are from, is key to ensuring the end of this pandemic around the world. We must all unite to get back on track to eradicating extreme poverty.”
As the exclusive global streaming partner, YouTube will stream an extended version of Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World on the Global Citizen channel for a full run-time of 90 minutes, which will include additional performances and appearances by NCT 127 and YouTube creators Daniel El Travieso, Kati Morton, ShootforLove, Thembe Mahlaba and The Try Guys.
Global Citizen is also launching Vax Because, to drive candid conversations about the Covid-19 pandemic, provide people with ranging perspectives about vaccine confidence, and arm people with facts about personal health and immunisation options. With the aim of ensuring that individuals, families and communities can make the right decisions for themselves, the campaign will live on a multimedia hub, where visitors can both ask questions they have about the vaccine, and find fact-based information about the coronavirus epidemic. Global Citizens are encouraged to ask questions and find answers at http://VaxBecause.org.
In partnership with Declan Kelly and Teneo, the global CEO advisory firm, Vax Live and Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World are supported by a coalition of Global Partners including: Cisco, Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Google, Live Nation, P&G and Verizon, and Pan-African Partner Access Bank. As leaders of many of the world’s top companies, co-chairs Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Cisco; Jane Fraser, CEO of Citi; James Quincey, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company; Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines; Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation; Marc Pritchard, CBO of P&G; and Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon will work together to engage the private sector to help achieve the campaign’s priority policy goals. Lorraine Twohill, CMO of Google and Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW International are also supporting leaders of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World.
Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World is executive produced by Global Citizen, the Ad Council & COVID Collaborative, YouTube Originals, iHeartMedia, Teneo and Live Nation. The Vax Live broadcast will be executive produced by Casey Patterson and Casey Patterson Entertainment, and Ken Ehrlich. Producers of Vax Live, include: Michele Anthony, for Universal Music Group, Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, John Sykes, President, Entertainment Enterprises at iHeartMedia, Tom Poleman, Chief Programming Officer & President at iHeartMedia, Declan Kelly, CEO of Teneo, Rob Light, for CAA, Amanda Silverman of The Lede Company, Shawn Sachs & Keleigh Thomas Morgan of Sunshine Sachs, and Diversified Production Services (DPS).
For more information about Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World, visit globalcitizen.org/vaxlive and follow @glblctzn on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.