Prince Harry Shares Passionate Message Calling for 'Empathy and Compassion' at VAX LIVE Concert

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are doing their part to improve the world. The pair has directed their efforts and attention into helping to create the star-studded VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World. The event took place Sunday, May 1, but was televised on Saturday, May 8.

The Duke of Sussex -- who, along with his famous wife, serve as chair members for the Global Citizen campaign -- took the stage twice at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, over the weekend to address the importance of coming together and supporting the cause behind the gala concert, hosted by Selena Gomez.

"Hi, everybody. We are at a defining moment in the global fight against COVID-19. Tonight is a celebration of each of you here, the vaccinated frontline workers in the audience and the millions of frontline heroes around the world," Harry told the crowd. "You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You've served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm's way and acted with bravery, knowing the costs. We owe you an incredible debt of gratitude. Thank you."

"But we're also coming together because this pandemic will not end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity. The vaccine must be distributed to everyone, everywhere. We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world," he added. "The mission in front of us is one we cannot afford to fail out and that's what tonight is about. The virus does not respect borders, and access to the vaccine cannot be determined by geography. It must be accepted as a basic right for all and that is our starting point."

Harry continued on, telling the crowd, "None of us should be comfortable with thinking that we can be fine when so many others are suffering."

"In reality, and especially with this pandemic, when any suffer, we all suffer," he exclaimed. "We must look beyond ourselves with empathy and compassion for those we know, and those we don't. We need to lift up all of humanity, and make sure that no person or community is left behind."

When Harry returned to the stage for his second appearance, he addressed the stark rise we've seen in "vaccine hesitancy" over the past few months, stemming from the spread of misinformation.

"For the nations that have received so few doses and the countries where the [coronavirus] cases are rising and the human loss is staggering, hesitancy is not an option," he explained. "Misinformation is not simply harming those who believe it, but also those who don't. We must tackle each of these issues head on -- vaccine equity and misinformation."

"If vaccine distribution moved half as quickly as misinformation, just imagine how many lives could be saved," he added. "I understand why people are confused, or sometimes don't know what to think or believe about vaccines. We are experiencing a viral pandemic alongside a digital pandemic. In today's world, we are so connected, like a vast nervous system, whether we're online or not."

Harry argued that much like the coronavirus, "there are no borders online."

"So when vaccine misinformation and disinformation spreads, magnified on social media and in parts of traditional media, it exposes a collective threat to humanity," he said. "I believe that misinformation is a global humanitarian crisis."

Prince Harry
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

About a half hour before the event taping officially began, Harry was spotted walking to a backstage area with a group of escorts. At one point, a few fans sitting right near the stage flagged him down to say hello. The 36-year-old royal stopped to chat with them briefly, acknowledging them with some elbow bumps and high fives. Harry's wife, Meghan -- who is currently pregnant with the couple's second child, a baby girl -- was not present at the event, but is expected to appear in Saturday's broadcast via video message.

According to the Global Citizen website, the concert is "celebrating the hope that COVID-19 vaccines are offering families and communities around the world" as well as "calling on world leaders to step up to make sure vaccines are accessible for all." 

Ahead of the telecast, Global Citizen posted a behind-the-scenes video of Harry talking about the importance of being vaccinated.

“What we cannot allow to happen is science being politicized.”

Hear more in the video below.

-- Reporting by Desiree Murphy.

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