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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry deliver impassioned speech after loved-up display at Global Citizen Live

The Sussexes stressed the importance of global vaccine equity

Jenni McKnight

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made an impassioned speech on Saturday in their bid for global vaccine equity as they attended Global Citizen Live during their tour of New York City.

The couple joined forces to address the crowd, receiving a huge round of applause from the audience as they walked out on stage hand-in-hand.

"My wife and I believe that where you are born should not dictate your ability to survive. Especially when treatments exist to keep you safe," said Harry to the cheering crowds.

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"Look at us all here, 60,000 strong in New York City," Harry began, asking: "Are we prepared to do what's necessary to end this pandemic?"

Meghan then greeted the crowds: "It is so good to be back here with all of you."

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"Look, we know it feels like this pandemic has been going on forever. We get it, it’s a lot, and some people are just over it," Meghan shared.

"But if everyone’s over it, it is never going to be over. There is so much we can do today that can get us closer to ending this pandemic and that’s why we’re all here."

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The pair attended the Global Citizen Live event

"We're able to be here tonight because the most brilliant scientists, researchers, frontline workers, and selfless public health leaders [that] have risked their lives to protect our global community," she continued.

"They are our humanitarian heroes."

Harry added: "Since this pandemic began we've been talking to experts about how we can do our part. This week we sat with independent global health leaders to further understand how we get closer to vaccine equity and ending this crisis.

"But we are battling more than a virus, this is a battle of misinformation, bureaucracy, lack of transparency, and lack of access. And above all, a human rights crisis."

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They praised scientists and frontline workers

The pair went on to share that experts had told them this past week that many devleoping countries "have the means and ability and workers to start manufacturing" vaccines but that they are still waiting for "the vaccine intellectual property to be waived, and for technology to be transferred over".

"And many of these vaccines are publicly funded, they are your vaccines, you paid for them," shared Harry.

"Where does it leave us?" he concluded.

"My wife and I believe that where you are born should not dictate your ability to survive. Especially when treatments exist to keep you safe."

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"Where you are born should not dictate your ability to survive," said Harry

The special event was held to urge world leaders from the G7 and European Union to adopt a vaccine equity policy to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group is urging those leaders to share at least one billion doses of the vaccine to those most in need. It's also calling on them to waive vaccine intellectual property rights.

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They held hands as they appeared on stage

The event was streamed live and took place in various cities around the world including New York, London, and Sydney.

Harry and Meghan were co-chairs of Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, which took place in May.

Harry made a solo appearance and spoke for three minutes about the importance of making vaccinations borderless.

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Harry and Meghan were co-chairs of Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE in May

The royal couple have been vocal about making it easier to access the vaccine and urged people to support the Global Citizen COVAX campaign in honour of their son Archie's second birthday.

They also penned an open letter to the CEOs of five of the world’s leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, calling on them to urgently share vaccines with the world’s poorest countries.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health, social, and economic inequality globally," they wrote. "The global vaccine rollout thus far further deepens these disparities, with the poorest and most marginalized populations most adversely impacted."

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