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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marked son Archie’s second birthday by asking fans and followers to donate $5 each to help cover the cost of a COVID-19 vaccine shot in the world’s poorest places.
“We cannot think of a more resonant way to honor our son’s birthday,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrote in a statement on the website of their Archewell Foundation.
“This year, our world continues to be on the path to recovery from COVID-19 … While some places are on the verge of healing, in so many parts of the world, communities continue to suffer,” they also said. “… We will not be able to truly recover until everyone, everywhere, has equal access to the vaccine.”
The couple, whose net worth is around $10 million, added that a $5 donation would be automatically matched by unidentified supporting organizations and “turn into $20 — covering the cost of four doses.”
In a separate statement, Harry and Meghan backed the global push to lift intellectual property protections on coronavirus vaccines.
In an open letter to the CEOs of Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, the Sussexes implored them to “end your opposition” to waiving the rules and “work collaboratively with the global community to achieve universal access.”
The letter, published on the website Global Citizen, also called on Moderna and Pfizer to each direct at least 100 million vaccine doses to COVAX, the global initiative co-directed by the World Health Organization, before the end of the year.
The Biden administration announced its support for removing patent protections for the vaccine on Wednesday, making the US the first country in the developed world with large vaccine manufacturing to publicly support the idea.
French President Emanuel Macron followed suit Thursday but warned that a waiver would not solve the problem of access to the vaccine.
Macron’s great European ally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, knocked the idea, saying: “The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and must remain so in the future.”
Moderna has long said it will not pursue rivals for patent infringement during the pandemic, though the pharmaceutical industry in the US and overseas blasted the idea of lifting intellectual property protections.
“A waiver is the simple but the wrong answer to what is a complex problem,” said the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations. “Waiving patents of COVID-19 vaccines will not increase production nor provide practical solutions needed to battle this global health crisis.”
With Post wires
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