Prince Harry compares Covid pandemic to HIV in People's Vaccine video

Prince Harry compares Covid pandemic to HIV as he blames ‘corporate greed and political failure’ for prolonging both pandemics and calls for manufacturers to share jab technology with developing world as he narrates new UN-backed video

  • Prince Harry tells of ‘striking parallels’ between Covid-19 and HIV in YouTube clip
  • Video features footage of Diana who was known for raising HIV/AIDS awareness
  • It is released on World Aids Day as part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance coalition 
  • Organisation is backed by United Nations and campaigning for ‘people’s vaccine’

Prince Harry today compared the Covid-19 crisis to HIV, claiming in a YouTube video that ‘corporate greed and political failure have prolonged both pandemics’.

The Duke of Sussex told viewers today that there were ‘striking parallels between Covid-19 and another deadly pandemic, one that emerged 40 years ago – HIV’.

The 37-year-old made the comments in a video which featured footage of his late mother Princess Diana who was known for raising awareness surrounding HIV/AIDS.

The clip also featured Harry and his wife Meghan Markle during the Global Citizen Live event in New York in September which called for a vaccine equity policy. 

Today’s video came out on World Aids Day as part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance coalition of groups and activists which is campaigning for a ‘people’s vaccine’.

The alliance is backed by organisations including UNAIDS – the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS – as well as Oxfam and Amnesty International.

Prince Harry at the Global Citizen Live event at Central Park in New York City on September 25

Prince Harry said in the clip: ‘There are striking parallels between Covid-19 and another deadly pandemic, one that emerged 40 years ago – HIV.’

He then added: ‘This is a story about how corporate greed and political failure have prolonged both pandemics, and what we can do to stop it.’

The Duke said: ‘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.’

And he continued: ‘By ending vaccine monopolies and sharing technology, companies in the developing world can start producing Covid vaccines too.’

The video concluded with Harry and UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima saying: ‘Break the monopolies, share the know-how, deliver a people’s vaccine.’

Harry also wrote a letter to World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Ms Byanyima, saying how ‘deeply grateful’ Diana would have been for their achievements.

The letter was read out by the WHO’s director of global HIV, hepatitis and STIs programmes Dr Meg Doherty at the WHO and UNAIDS event.

Harry wrote: ‘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.’

He said there had been a ‘spectacular failure’ over coronavirus 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,’ Harry wrote.

The late Princess Diana was known for raising awareness surrounding HIV/AIDS. She is pictured here meeting HIV/AIDS sufferers at the Turning Point project in London in 1992

Princess Diana shakes hands with HIV/AIDS sufferer William Drake at a London centre in 1992

‘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.’

In today video, Harry was filmed speaking in New York in September, saying: ‘Many of these vaccines were publicly funded, they are your vaccines – you paid for them.’

The Duke had been at Global Citizen Live, an event which urged leaders to adopt a vaccine equity policy, at which he labelled pandemic a ‘human rights crisis’.

Harry also said at the event, where he was joined by Meghan, that pharmaceutical companies should waive their intellectual property rights on Covid vaccines.

Harry and UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima shared the narration for today’s video

At the GQ Awards in September, Harry blamed overwhelming ‘mass-scale misinformation’ for Covid vaccine hesitancy and urged governments to address vaccine inequality

In a speech earlier that month, he blamed overwhelming ‘mass-scale misinformation’ for Covid vaccine hesitancy and urged governments to address vaccine inequality.

Harry, who was praising the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab at the GQ Awards, spoke of a ‘huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine’.

The Duke also said at the time that less than 2 per cent of people in the developing world had received a jab with many healthcare workers remaining unvaccinated. 

And at Global Citizen VAX Live in May, he said: ‘This pandemic will not end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity.’ 

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