Prince Harry got the crowd riled up and on their feet at Global Citizen’s “Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World” event on Sunday.
The royal, who co-chaired the star-studded event alongside Meghan Markle, appeared before the crowd of fully vaccinated health care and frontline workers to thank them for their sacrifices throughout the pandemic and speak about the importance of vaccine equity.
The event was the Duke of Sussex’s first engagement since he attended his late grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral on April 17. Meghan, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, did not make an in-person appearance at the “Vax Live” event, but will appear in a pre-taped segment when it airs this weekend.
“Tonight is a celebration of each of you here, the vaccinated frontline workers in the audience and the millions of frontline heroes around the world,” the duke said in his opening remarks to raucous applause.
“You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm’s way and acted with bravery knowing the costs. We owe you an incredible depth of gratitude ― thank you,” he added.
Harry spoke about vaccine misinformation and the need for immediate vaccine equity. He referenced India, which is undergoing a “devastating” second wave of COVID-19.
“The virus does not respect borders and access to the vaccine cannot be determined by geography,” he said. “It must be accepted as a basic right for all and that is our starting point.”
Harry and Meghan previously spoke about the need for everyone “to recover and heal” together in a statement announcing their involvement with the event last week.
“We must pursue equitable vaccine distribution, and in that, restore faith in our common humanity. This mission couldn’t be more critical or important,” they said in a joint statement.
The concert, which was taped over the weekend, will air this coming Saturday. It featured appearances from host Selena Gomez, Chrissy Teigen, President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Ben Affleck, Jimmy Kimmel and more. Jennifer Lopez, J Balvin, H.E.R. and the Foo Fighters performed at the event.