Big B to join Pope Francis, Joe Biden and others in global event to inspire vax drive

Mumbai/Los Angeles, May 9 (IANS) Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan joins a host of international personalities including Pope Francis and US President Joe Biden in a globally televised special titled Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE: The Concert To Reunite The World, which aims to inspire vaccine confidence worldwide and help get the Covid-19 vaccine to everyone everywhere. The special programme is aired globally on Sunday evening according to India time.

The concert has been pre-taped at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and hosted by international pop star Selena Gomez. It will include a night of musical performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin and H.E.R, and joined by Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn, and Sean Penn.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are serving as Campaign Chairs of VAX LIVE and will deliver an important global message for vaccine equity during the event.

Pope Francis, President Joe Biden, First Lady Dr Jill Biden and Amitabh Bachchan apart, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic of Croatia will also make appearances.

Big B shared an urgent plea from India, where cases continue to rise, saying: “My country India is battling with the sudden surge of the second wave of COVID-19. As a global citizen I appeal to all global citizens to rise up, speak to your governments, your pharmaceutical companies, and ask them to donate, to give, to extend a helping hand to the public that needs it the most. Every effort counts.”

Pope Francis called for “a spirit of justice that mobilises us to ensure true universal access to vaccines, and a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights. A spirit of communion that allows us to generate a different economic model that is inclusive, just and sustainable”.

Launched by the international advocacy organisation Global Citizen, the event calls for new commitments from governments, the private sector and philanthropists towards the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. US President Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden make a special appearance as part of Global Citizen’s partnership with the White House’s We Can Do This initiative to increase public confidence in Covid-19 vaccines.

In their video address, President Biden said that the US is “working with leaders around the world to share more vaccines and boost production to make sure every country has the vaccines they need”.

VAX LIVE is part of Global Citizen’s overall 2021 Recovery Plan for the World, a year-long campaign and series of events that aims to help end Covid-19 for all, end the hunger crisis, resume learning everywhere, protect the planet, and advance equity for all. Global Citizen are partnering with Viacom 18 and Wizcraft International Entertainment to bring VAX LIVE to India. All proceeds from the same would be utilised for Covid relief work in India.

The concert will air in India on VH1, Colors Infinity and Comedy Central on Sunday.

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