Prince Harry Likens COVID-19 To HIV – A Cause Dear To His Late Mother Princess Diana
Prince Harry compared COVID-19 to HIV this week, appearing to channel his late mother Princess Diana, who was active against AIDS.
Prince Harry channeled his late mother Princess Diana this week when he compared the COVID-19 pandemic to HIV, a cause that she fought for during her lifetime.
Harry Compares COVID-19 Pandemic To HIV Crisis
In a video to celebrate World AIDS Day, Harry called out Big Pharma as he argued that both COVID-19 and HIV were prolonged by “corporate greed and political failure” blocking people from accessing treatment.
Harry wrote a letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Ms. Winnie Byanyima on World AIDS, today. You can hear them speak in the tweeted video below.
During the #AIDS crisis, pharma companies made vast profits as millions were left behind. History is repeating itself. @Winnie_Byanyima & Prince Harry call out corporate greed & political failure. We must deliver on a #PeoplesVaccine pic.twitter.com/L3pqyEeAHW
— Open Society Health (@OSFHealth) December 1, 2021
“On this World AIDS Day we recognise the 40 years that have shaped life for many. We honour those whose lives have been cut short and reaffirm our commitment to a scientific community that has worked tirelessly against this disease. My mother would be deeply grateful for everything you stand for and have accomplished. We all share that gratitude, so thank you.
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It is striking to now see the world’s leading AIDS activists are also leading the call for COVID-19 vaccine equity. Vaccinating the world is a test of our moral character and we are experiencing a spectacular failure when it comes to global vaccine equity. Similar to the AIDS crisis, we’ve yet again revealed over the past year, that the value of life depends on whether you were born and/or live in a rich nation, or a developing country.
We’ve known for some time (thanks to medical experts) that if we are unable to meet agreed targets to vaccinate 40% of every country’s population by the end of the year, and 70% by next September, potentially more dangerous COVID-19 variants are likely to arise. Yet, here we are.
While it’s too early to know the full extent of the risk that the Omicron variant poses, which we only know about thanks to the experts in Southern Africa identifying it, there is no doubt that its emergence is of deep concern. Now more than ever, the voiceless majority of the world needs to be heard, and the onus is on our leaders to end this pandemic. Anything less is self-defeating.
That means breaking pharma monopolies that prevent vaccines from getting to communities around the world in need; that means Governments honoring their promises and delivering the doses that they committed; that means pursuing international pandemic agreements with strict timelines and holding each other accountable to them; that means treating all human lives as equal lives.
It’s time to draw from the lessons we learned throughout the HIV/AIDS pandemic, where millions died unnecessarily due to deep inequities in access to treatment. Are we really comfortable repeating the failures of the past? Everything I’ve learnt, from the youth of Sentebale, tells me not. They see how repeating these mistakes is destructive and self- defeating, it is a betrayal of the next generation.
Let’s spend today celebrating and building on the work of champions who turned what was once a death sentence into a manageable condition. Let’s spend tomorrow continuing our efforts to save lives and make a difference.”
Harry Calls For Activism And Vaccine Equity
Harry went on to say that in the case of HIV, activism was needed to break up the power of corporate monopolies. He feels that the same thing needs to happen with COVID-19.
“In the early 2000s a wave of activism helped break drug company monopolies giving millions of people access to generic medicines at a fraction of the price,” Harry said. “By ending vaccine monopolies and sharing technology countries in the developing world can start producing COVID vaccines too.”
Harry has made calling for vaccine equity a cornerstone of his activism over the past few months.
“They said many countries are ready to produce vaccines at home yet they aren’t allowed to because ultra-wealthy pharmaceutical companies are not sharing the recipes to make them,” Harry said in a speech for the Global Citizen Live in New York in September, according to People.
“These countries have the means, the ability and the workers to start manufacturing,” he added as his wife Meghan Markle stood besides him. “All they are waiting for is the vaccine intellectual property to be waived and the vaccine technology to be transferred over. By the way, many of these vaccines were publicly funded. They are your vaccines, you paid for them.”
Frontline AIDS Executive Director Makes Similar Comparison
Christine Stegling, executive director at Frontline AIDS, made similar comments comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to the AIDs crisis.
“This is not the first time the governments of rich countries have moved on from a problem as soon as it appears to be in someone else’s back yard,” she said. “We saw it with AIDS, where the transformative impact of HIV treatments in rich countries has seen urgency, focus and funding for the global response fall sharply, and we are starting to see the same thing with Covid-19. We cannot allow history to repeat itself.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, but high-income, high-vaccination countries are already starting to talk about future pandemics, while turning a blind eye to those that continue to impact poorer regions. This will only prolong the pain of existing pandemics, placing millions of lives at risk,” Stegling continued. We urgently need a People’s Vaccine to benefit everyone, everywhere.”
Harry is following in his mother’s path, fighting for a cause that was close to her heart.