Prince Harry made a surprise appearance at the 24th "British GQ Men Of The Year" awards held at the Tate Modern in London on Wednesday.

When it came to announcing the award show's last winners in GQ's "Heroes Of The Year," Prince Harry tuned in live from his California home to present the honour to the team behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for coronavirus. The Duke of Sussex used his speech to urgegovernments to share the vaccines with poorer countries, and also blamed "mass-scale misinformation" for vaccine hesitancy.

Praising the award-winning team for "approaching their mission with a humanitarian urgency" and "stealthily" sending a shipment of research cultures to India in the beginning, Harry 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. That's a common refrain my wife and I have heard in convenings with vaccine experts, heads of industry, community advocates, and global leaders."

Reflecting on the huge difference in vaccinations between developed and developing countries, he said, "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. But there is a huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine. Less than two percent of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point, and many of their healthcare workers are still not even vaccinated. We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one."

The Duke of Sussex further slammed those who are creating vaccine hesitancy by peddling lies and fear and spreading mass-scale misinformation across news media and social media. "The Oxford Team have done their part. They are heroes of the highest order who gave us an instrument to fight this disease. They are our nation's pride, and we are deeply indebted to their service. For the rest of us—including global governments, pharmaceutical leaders, and heads of business—we have to keep doing our part," he said.

The live audience hearing Harry's speech also included Piers Morgan, who was vindicated by Britain's media watchdog Ofcom over the comments he had made against Meghan Markle, in a ruling released just a few hours before the award show. The Sussexes have not yet commented on Ofcom's dismissal of 57,000 complaints against the television presenter, one of which was made by the Duchess herself.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry Photo: AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS