KEY POINTS

  • Prince Harry highlighted vaccine inequity in his speech at the British GQ Men of Year Awards Wednesday
  • The Duke of Sussex also spoke out against "mass-scale misinformation," which he blames for vaccine hesitancy
  • Some Twitter users criticized the duke, while others thanked him for calling attention to these issues

Twitter users had mixed reactions to Prince Harry's impassioned speech at the 2021 British GQ Men of Year Awards Wednesday.

During his surprise virtual appearance at the awards show, the Duke of Sussex called on governments to tackle the "huge disparity" in access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide and blamed "mass-scale misinformation" for vaccine hesitancy.

"Where you’re born should not affect your ability to survive, when the drugs and know-how exist to keep you alive and well," Prince Harry was quoted as saying by ABC News.

He also said, "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."

Commenting on Prince Harry's speech, royal biographer Angela Levin accused him of "hypocrisy."

"Harry is blaming 'the media and social media' for 'mass-scale misinformation.' He and Meghan didn't fall far behind during their chat to Oprah," she tweeted.

Some Twitter users accused Prince Harry of being out of touch and claimed he was not the right person to speak about these issues.

"One would think he would be more sensitive to the reality that one’s birthplace has a great deal to do with one’s ability to survive," one commented.  

"I am not sure how in touch Harry is with the country he decided to call home. As a healthcare worker, we are [close] to the breaking point. Does he know the death toll as of today? Between fires, floods and [COVID-19], we are taking a beating," another added.

"If it was coming from another source, I would believe it or respect the speech," another wrote, before claiming, "Harry has sold his soul to the media and marketing firm."

However, many others praised Prince Harry's efforts to highlight vaccine inequity and hesitancy.

"It’s actually amazing how Prince Harry used his voice to highlight vaccine inequality because so many are warped in their privilege they can’t imagine how others can’t even access their jabs. I hope world leaders work together moving forward," one tweeted.  

"The only royal who has called for vaccine equity and distribution since the pandemic. Bravo, Prince Harry," another wrote with clapping hands emoji.

"Leaders lead!! Spot on Prince Harry," another supporter commented.

"Thank you for advocating & raising awareness! I like what he said: 'no one is safe until we are all safe.' I wish people will start listening," a fourth netizen wrote.

During the awards ceremony, Prince Harry presented the GQ Heroes of the Year Award to Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Dr. Catherine Green and the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. As he hailed "their breakthrough research," he also urged others to do more.

"As people sit in the room with you tonight, more than a third of the global population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. That’s more than 5 billion shots given around the world so far. It sounds like a major accomplishment, and in many ways is," he said.

Prince Harry continued, "But there is a huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine. Less than 2% of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point and many of their health care workers are still not even vaccinated. We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one."

Prince Harry 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: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Hugo Boss UK