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Trudeau to give speech at virtual celebrity concert pushing vaccine equality

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on the speakers’ list next month at a celebrity-laden global concert promoting vaccine equality.

The Global Citizen Vax Live Concert to Reunite the World will air on YouTube May 8, hosted by Selena Gomez and featuring performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder and the Foo Fighters.

Trudeau’s office confirms he will deliver a speech about the need for international co-operation to end the pandemic.

The concert’s organizers are asking political leaders to commit to ensuring vaccines are available to every country.

Canada is among the countries criticized for vaccine hoarding, as wealthy countries lined up to sign private deals to buy doses, and poorer countries will wait longer to vaccinate even their most vulnerable citizens.

Canada is one of the largest contributors to the global vaccine sharing initiative known as COVAX and has committed to providing excess doses to other countries once Canadians are vaccinated, but has been criticized for also taking doses from COVAX despite having privately purchased enough vaccines to give as many eight doses to every Canadian.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are raising money for the COVAX vaccine sharing facility, are also participating in the concert, as are U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2021.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press