Stars Help Raise Billions in EU Vaccine Drive

Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson sponsored President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission on Saturday's coronavirus fundraising campaign, which earned EUR 6.15 billion ($6.9 billion).

Megastars from music, film, sport and fashion have entered international activities to promote the quest for a coronavirus vaccine to make it accessible to developing countries.

The EU Chief began the fundraiser by revealing EUR 4.9 billion from the European Investment Bank, in cooperation with the Commission, in a fresh commitment to the initiative.

This was accompanied by promises of almost EUR 10 billion from the EU, governments and billionaire philanthropists at the first fund-raising meeting on 4 May, taking the number to EUR 15.9 billion.

“We will only end this pandemic when it has been ended everywhere,” von der Leyen said, kicking off the virtual event.

“And that means every person in the world having access to tests, treatments and vaccines no matter where they live and where they are from or what they look like,” she said.

Together with the Global Citizen initiative in the US, the EU executive funded a fund-raising and communication campaign to support attempts to combat the outbreak.

Von der Leyen said that the funding would help create a new coronavirus vaccine to help insure that it is spread among the most vulnerable populations.

Johnson, a former pro-wrestler turned movie star, will host a concert later on Saturday to be broadcast online.

That will feature celebrity artists such as Miley Cyrus, Salma Hayek, Charlize Theron, Forest Whitaker and Angelique Kidjo.

“I have been really passionate about justice and equality and this campaign is all about making sure that everyone everywhere has access to the tools and solutions to end COVID-19,” Cyrus said.

Philanthropist Melinda Gates, Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also participated.

The EU stated that 40 governments engaged in the gathering, all of whom declared national contributions to the WHO, the World Food Program and other foreign attempts to counter the pandemic.

Source: AFP

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