Iman is calling for global leaders to prioritize equitable vaccine distribution around the world.
The model, who is a Global Advocate for leading humanitarian organization CARE, got more than 70 influential members of the arts and entertainment community to sign an open letter, timed to the UN General Assembly and Joe Biden’s Global COVID-19 Summit, that will be published as an ad in Tuesday’s New York Times.
Influential signatories include Connie Britton, Richard Gere, Tony Goldwyn, Anne Hathaway, Annie Lennox, Eva Longoria, Julianna Margulies, Debra Messing, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Edward James Olmos, Michael Sheen, Michelle Williams, Ciara, Russell Wilson, and more.
The letter urges world leaders to provide enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to immunize 70 per cent of the world’s population by mid-2022, which is a goal outlined by the World Health Organization.
In the letter, the signatories emphasize that “Only 2% per cent 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.”
The stars also called on world leaders to help countries with limited resources develop the infrastructure necessary to vaccinate their populations, which includes building delivery systems, investing in public education, and supporting healthcare workers.
“The negative health and economic impact that COVID-19 has brought to countries around the world is devastating,” said Iman.
“Yet, despite billions of vaccine doses being produced, only a small fraction is reaching the world’s most vulnerable communities. 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 USA, noted that with absent significant investments in both global vaccine procurement and delivery, the COVID pandemic will continue to morph, worsening the devastating health and economic consequences that ultimately hit the lowest income countries the hardest, a press release stated.
“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 centre of our global response – last-mile delivery.”
Nunn also reiterated the most important sentiment of the letter, noting that “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.”