NEW YORK – Backed by an international concert hosted by Selena Gomez and headlined by Jennifer Lopez, Global Citizen is unveiling an ambitious campaign to help medical workers in the world’s poorest countries quickly receive COVID-19 vaccines.
The anti-poverty organization is announcing the musical event — “VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World” — with the goal of enlisting corporations and philanthropists to raise $22 billion for global vaccinations. The concert, which airs May 8 on ABC, CBS and FOX as well as on iHeartMedia radio stations and YouTube, will also showcase the Foo Fighters, Eddie Vedder, J Balvin and H.E.R.
The acts will be recorded at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Ahead of the event, Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, highlighted the magnitude of the problem his organization aims to address.
"There are 27 million healthcare workers globally who don’t have access to the vaccine,” Evans told The Associated Press. “I’m 38 years old, and it’s not ethical for me to have access to the vaccine before these heroic first responders and community health workers. So we need governments to start urgently donating those doses.”
The Global Citizen program is among of a growing web of nonprofits and activists that are seeking to achieve wider, more equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. As of this month, Evans said, 60 nations had still not yet received any COVID-19 vaccines.
“Low-income countries not only need this welcome fundraising effort; they need access to COVID-19 vaccine doses,” Tom Hart, the North American executive director of another nonprofit, The ONE Campaign, said last month about the overall drive for donations. “The United States has secured over 550 million excess doses that could be used to help end the global pandemic faster.”
A week later, Gayle Smith, The ONE Campaign’s president and CEO, was selected by the Biden Administration for the new State Department position of coordinator of global COVID response and health security.