Eva Longoria, Anne Hathaway, Debbie Allen, Peter Dinklage, Richard Gere, Connie Britton and other Hollywood notables have signed an open letter urging world leaders to make COVID-19 vaccines widely available in developing countries.
On Tuesday, humanitarian organization Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) released the open letter with more than 70 signatures from prominent entertainment industry figures, including Julianna Margulies, Sarah Silverman, Edward James Olmos, Joel McHale, Debra Messing, Bellamy Young and Tony Goldwyn. The goal is to provide enough innoculations to vaccines to immunize 70% of the global population by mid-2022.
“COVID-19 is now a man-made pandemic of apathy,” the letter opens. “Only 2% of people in low-income countries have received a single dose, leaving the world’s most vulnerable to face COVID with no protection. This situation also lets new variants, like Delta, emerge and ravage the lives of millions.
“We are joining with CARE to call on global leaders to make 7 billion vaccine doses available before the end of 2021, and an additional 7 billion doses by mid-2022 to fully vaccinate 70% of the world by next summer,” the letter continues.
The public advocacy effort comes as the United Nations’ general assembly is in session, and just ahead of the COVID-19 summit that Joe Biden will host on Sept. 22. The mid-2022 goal comes from a recommendation issued by the World Health Organization on Sept. 8. CARE focuses not only on the importance of vaccination, but the problem of vaccine equity, highlighting disparities between different nations using specific statistics.
The rest of the letter points out the different areas leaders will need to invest in to achieve this goal, namely last-mile delivery systems, public education and frontline healthcare workers.
Iman, Somali-American supermodel and CARE global advocate, said that the “despite billions of vaccine doses being produced, only a small fraction is reaching the world’s most vulnerable communities,” in line with the fact that many doses of the vaccine have gone to waste, which the letter points out. “We need our leaders to redouble their efforts to ensure that the vaccines make it into the arms of the people who are being left behind.”
Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of CARE U.S., concurred: “We welcome President Biden’s invitation to ask international organizations, business, philanthropic and non-governmental leaders to come together to commit to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. We stand ready to help, but also hope that the world’s leaders will listen and respond with resources and action. Leaders need to focus on a central issue at the center of our global response — last-mile delivery. We can save millions of lives— and trillions in further economic damage — by meeting this moment with the resources required to end COVID-19 for everyone, everywhere. Because none of us are safe until all of us are safe.”
Read the full letter at CARE.org.