"Where are the doses?"

This weekend, world leaders are coming together in Rome for the G20 Summit — President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden are already there — and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are urging them to address the vaccine equity divide. In an open letter published on the World Health Organization's website, the Sussexes called out the fact that lower-income nations are not receiving the doses that they were promised. 

"When the leaders of the world's wealthiest nations met at the G7 Summit in June, they collectively announced that 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines would be sent to low- and low-and-middle-income countries to help vaccinate the world. Pharmaceutical companies have pledged almost the same," the letter starts. "Yet, as several nations still don't even have enough vaccines for their own health workers, the world is left asking: Where are the doses?"

Prince Harry Meghan Markle
Credit: Photo by NDZ/Star Max/GC Images

Earlier this year, the WHO created COVAX to address fair access to the vaccine. It was supposed to have 1.3 billion doses by now. So far, it's only gotten about 10% of what was promised.

"Of the almost 7 billion doses that have been administered globally, just 3% of people in low-income countries have had a jab so far. Where are the rest?" Meghan and Harry's letter continued. "COVAX, the initiative designed to help achieve fair global access to COVID vaccines, has been promised 1.3 billion doses to be donated for the low-income countries it supports, yet it has been able to ship only 150 million — 11.5% — to date. Where are the rest?"

The letter also noted that doses are being discarded because of how certain vaccines are stored — and the fact that those vaccines are being wasted should outrage people everywhere.

"Each dose represents a real person — a mother, father, daughter, or son — who could have been protected," Meghan and Harry added. "Each of us come from very different places, backgrounds, and life experiences, but we share a common goal: to tackle global inequity. Cooperation of historic proportion is the only solution. Lives literally depend on it."

Meghan and Harry also addressed the vaccine disparity at the Global Citizen Festival in New York last month.

"Every single person on this planet has a fundamental right to get this vaccine. That's the point, but that's not happening," Meghan said during her time on stage. "And while in this country and many others, you can go almost anywhere and get vaccinated, billions of people around the world cannot," she continued. "This year, the world's expected to produce enough doses to meet the target of vaccinating 70% of people in every single country. But it is wrong that so much of the vaccine supply has only gone to just 10 wealthy nations so far, and not everyone else. It's just not OK."