Bold Prince Harry lays into 'mass-scale misinformation' on vaccines and calls for radical change

·4 min read

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Prince Harry is no longer the jolly squaddie who enjoys a prank. Increasingly, he's stepping boldly onto the world stage - and free of the shackles of royal protocol, he's saying exactly what he likes.

Last night, he appeared at the GQ Man of the Year awards via video link, but rather than offering polite congratulations and melting away, royal-style, he used the platform to deliver a stinging rebuke to anti-vaxxers.

"Families around the world are being overwhelmed by mass-scale of misinformation across news media and social media," he said, "where those who peddle in lies and fear are creating vaccine hesitancy, which in turn leads to divided communities and eroding trust."

He also urged governments to step up and ensure the vaccination programme reaches poorer countries more quickly, saying, "until every community can access the vaccine and until every community is connected to trustworthy information about the vaccine, then we are all at risk."

 "Less than 2 per cent of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point. And many of the healthcare workers are still not vaccinated.

"We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one."

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex appears via video link  at the 24th GQ Men of the Year Awards in association with BOSS at Tate Modern on September 1, 2021 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Hugo Boss UK)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex appears via video link at the 24th GQ Men of the Year Awards in association with BOSS at Tate Modern on September 1, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Hugo Boss UK)

He also praised vaccine scientists, adding, "This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome Covid-19 and the risk of new variants," and referred to the team behind the AstraZeneca vaccine as "heroes of the highest order" who "have done their part".

He went on, "We have to keep doing our part. That must include sharing vaccine science and supporting and empowering developing countries with more flexibility. Where you are born should not affect your ability to survive, when the drugs and know-how exist to keep you alive and well."

Read more: Duke of Sussex blames 'mass-scale misinformation' for vaccine hesitancy

Scientists welcomed his comments, with Vaccinologist Dame Sarah Green commenting, "he said all of the things we wanted to say about the necessity to get vaccines to the world for people, irrespective of their ability to pay."

The Prince has become increasingly strident over the past year, speaking out alongside his wife Meghan in the now-famous Oprah interview on subjects as thorny as royal racism and the British tabloids. 

He said of his royal life, "I was trapped but I didn’t know I was trapped. Like the rest of my family are, my father and my brother, they are trapped." 

He added: "It’s really sad that it’s got to this point, but I’ve got to do something for my own mental health, my wife’s and for Archie’s as well."

A new clip of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who�s pregnant with their second child after Archie, during their bombshell tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey after quitting their Royal Job, shows Meghan, Duchess of Sussex finally feeling free and ready to talk about being blocked from having her voice by royal aides. The clip aired on CBS This Morning ahead of premiere on US network on Sunday night. (Photo by DPPA/Sipa USA)
A new clip of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who�s pregnant with their second child after Archie, during their bombshell tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey after quitting their Royal Job, shows Meghan, Duchess of Sussex finally feeling free and ready to talk about being blocked from having her voice by royal aides. The clip aired on CBS This Morning ahead of premiere on US network on Sunday night. (Photo by DPPA/Sipa USA)

He has also recently spoken about colonialism. 

“When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past," he said, and went on, "When it comes to institutional and systemic racism, it’s there, and it stays there because someone, somewhere is benefiting from it,”

Harry has also come under fire for talking repeatedly about the dangers of climate change whilst using a private jet to holiday in the South of France - but the Prince insisted that the carbon emissions had been offset.

Harry and Meghan’s bombshell Oprah interview scores Emmy nomination

Harry's bold stance on current issues has been repeatedly mocked by broadcaster Piers Morgan, who has also expressed doubt about the truth of Meghan's recollections of royal life. 

He has referred to Harry as a 'two faced twerp' and called Meghan's Oprah interview 'contemptible.' 

Last night, Morgan was in the GQ awards audience, watching as Harry called out anti-vaxxers. In July, Morgan tweeted, "I’m hearing of anti-vaxxers using up ICU beds in London at vast expense to the taxpayer. Let them pay for their own stupidity & selfishness."

So while their approaches may differ, when it comes to anti-vaxx rhetoric, it seems the two may finally agree.

And Harry is unlikely to stop speaking his truth. In a podcast interview with Dax Shephard earlier this year, he explained that he had told himself,

"You're in this position of privilege, stop complaining and stop thinking you want something different—make this different, because you can't get out. How are you going to do these things differently? 

"How are you going to make your mum proud and use this platform to really affect change?'"

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