Last Saturday, Global Citizen hosted Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World, with the goals of raising funds pertaining to vaccine equity efforts and encouraging everyone across the globe to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Prior to the event, Global Citizen released a statement saying, “COVID-19 will continue to present a public health crisis unless everyone everywhere can receive a vaccine. The international community must come together to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in low-income countries.”
With 27,000 fully vaccinated essential healthcare workers in attendance at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood (in addition to hundreds of thousands of online viewers in over 100 countries), Vax Live was one of the largest events Southern California has seen since the beginning of the pandemic. Throughout the evening, host Selena Gomez and various musical guests and speakers, including President and First Lady Biden, Prince Harry and Meghan, Vice President Kamala Harris, Jennifer Lopez, J Balvin, the Foo Fighters and more honored these healthcare workers and celebrated their vaccination efforts, while also emphasizing the fact that the fight is not over and highlighting the issue of vaccine equity.
Prior to Vax Live, Global Citizen and its affiliates raised funding for COVAX, a vaccine-sharing program that intends to promote equitable vaccine access through dose sharing. In the past three months, COVAX has delivered vaccines to over 100 countries, prioritizing low income and at risk nations. Speakers and performers at Vax Live further bolstered support for these efforts, such as Prince Harry, who stated “We cannot rest and fully recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world. We need to lift up all of humanity and make sure nobody is left behind,” and South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha, who told the audience that “Many in Africa might not get a vaccine until 2023… It’s simply unacceptable. The spirit is in us all to rally together and demand that no one, wherever they were born, is left behind.” In addition, the Pope virtually joined the event from the Vatican, urging “a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights” on vaccines to ensure everyone across the globe can be safely vaccinated, while Vice President Kamala Harris stated, “If we have gained anything, it’s a reminder of the responsibility we have as a global community to see one another, to support one another, and to protect one another.”
In addition to promoting vaccine equity, Vax Live representatives urged everyone to get vaccinated if they can. Host Selena Gomez said, “If you’re on the fence about getting vaccinated, if you don’t think you need it to protect yourself, I’m not going to lecture you. I’m going to beg you. Please get vaccinated – for your family, your neighbors, and every single person you come in contact with.” In addition, H.E.R. performed for those receiving their vaccines at the mass COVID-19 vaccination site outside of SoFi Stadium, demonstrating how life can begin to return to normal once receiving a vaccine.
Over the course of the evening, Vax Live raised over $302 million, greatly exceeding its goals. These funds will enable Global Citizen to procure over 26 million doses of the COVID vaccine, which will be provided to marginalized and high-risk communities.
This is not the first time that Global Citizen, which usually focuses their efforts on ending poverty, has contributed to the fight against COVID-19. Last April, they hosted One World: Together at Home, a televised concert that encouraged people to stay home and protect their communities against COVID-19. In addition, Global Citizen recently launched Reward To Reunite the World, a program that enables vaccinated Americans to win tickets to major concerts and sporting events by sharing why they got vaccinated on social media using #VaxBecause. Global Citizen is also currently working with world leaders to ensure that excess vaccine doses can go to countries in need. At least 60% of the world’s population must be vaccinated in order to end the pandemic, making it more important than ever that no vaccine is left unused.