Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry and a number of other stars have signed a UNICEF letter urging the Group of Seven (G7) countries to donate more coronavirus vaccines to the international COVAX initiative. The open letter — also signed by David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, Sofia Carson, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Whoopi Goldberg, Gemma Chan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Olivia Colman, P!nk, Lucy Liu and several others — notes that more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic new variants of the disease have the potential to “put us all back where we started” in March 2020 if we don’t take decisive action.
“This means more school closures, more healthcare disruptions and greater economic fallout – threatening the futures of families and children everywhere,” read the letter. “The pandemic will not be over anywhere until it is over everywhere, and that means getting vaccines to every country, as quickly and equitably as possible.”
The signees — which include a mix of UNICEF Ambassadors and supporters — said this weekend’s G7 summit in the UK is a “vital” opportunity to reach an agreement to send vaccines where they are needed the most. “UNICEF is already on the ground delivering vaccines on behalf of COVAX, the international vaccine equity initiative. But right now, COVAX is 190 million doses short of where it needs to be, which leaves vulnerable people dangerously unprotected,” the letter continues; COVAX is an international coalition working to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines with a goal of guaranteeing fair and equitable access to every country in the world.
“Some countries have committed to donating vaccines later this year, but doses are needed now. UNICEF analysis shows that G7 countries will soon have enough doses to donate 20 per cent of their vaccines between June and August – over 150 million doses – without significant delay to current plans to vaccinate their adult populations.” The note ends with a request to make those donations by August and release a roadmap to scale up donations as supplies increase.
“The hopes of the world rest on your shoulders,” in concludes. “Together, you must rise to this challenge. Let’s build a healthier, brighter and fairer future for every child and for everyone.”
See the letter below.
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