Prince Harry Blames Mass Misinformation For Vaccine Hesitancy In Surprise Appearance

David M. Benett via Getty Images

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex appeared via video link at the 24th GQ Men of the Year Awards on Monday

Prince Harry has blamed “mass-scale misinformation” for worldwide vaccine hesitancy during a surprise virtual appearance in London on Monday.

The Duke of Sussex was presenting GQ’s heroes of the year award to Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert’s team behind the Oxford AstraZeneca jab when he used his platform to push for vaccine equity.

He claimed: “Unless every community can access the vaccine and until every community is connected to trustworthy information about the vaccine, then we are all at risk.”

The Queen’s grandson said the public were “overwhelmed by mass-scale misinformation” which was causing vaccine hesitancy.

Speaking during the 24th GQ Men of the Year awards the royal did praise the global vaccine effort, which has seen more than a third of the world’s population receive at least one vaccine dose – but he said it was not enough.

Steve Parsons – PA Images via Getty Images

Harry presented the heroes of the year award to Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and her team for their work on the AstraZeneca jab

Harry continued: “There is a huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine.

“Less than two percent of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point. And many of the healthcare workers are still not vaccinated.

“We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one.

“At the same time families around the world are being overwhelmed by mass-scale misinformation across news media and social media, where those who peddle in lies and fear are creating vaccine hesitancy which in turns leads to divided communities and eroding trust.

“This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome Covid-19 and the risk of new variants.”

Harry went on to praise those who created the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as “heroes of the highest order” who “have done their part”.

He continued: “They are our nation’s pride and we are deeply indebted to their service. For the rest of us, including global governments, pharmaceutical leaders and heads of business, we have to keep doing our part.

“That must include sharing vaccine science and supporting and empowering developing countries with more flexibility.

“Where you are born should not affect your ability to survive when the drugs and know-how exist to keep you alive and well.”

Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, both campaigned for vaccine equity back in May when they co-hosted Global Citizen’s star-studded concert, VaxLive.

Jason Armond via Getty Images

Prince Harry speaking at the Vax Live concert at SoFi Stadium in May this year, from California

This is also not the first time the Duke of Sussex has lashed out at the media – including social platforms – over misinformation.

In March he joined the US think tank, the Aspen Institute Misinformation Commission, to tackle fake news, and in 2020 he blamed social media giants for creating a “crisis of hate”.

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