BFF-35 Stars help raise billions in EU vaccine drive

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ZCZC

BFF-35

HEALTH-VIRUS-EU

Stars help raise billions in EU vaccine drive

BRUSSELS, June 27, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer
Hudson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lent support to European
Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in a coronavirus fundraising
drive on Saturday that raised 6.15 billion euros ($6.9 billion).

Megastars of music, film, sport, fashion joined online events to
support the search for a coronavirus vaccine and help make it
available to poorer countries.

The EU chief opened the fundraiser by announcing 4.9 billion euros
from the European Investment Bank, in partnership with the commission,
in a fresh contribution to the effort.

That followed pledges of almost 10 billion euros from the EU,
governments and billionaire philanthropists at a first fund-raising
summit on May 4, bringing the total to 15.9 billion euros.

“We will only end this pandemic when it has been ended everywhere,”
von der Leyen said, kicking off the virtual event.

“And that means every person in the world having access to tests,
treatments and vaccines no matter where they live and where they are
from or what they look like,” she said.

Along with US-based movement Global Citizen, the EU executive
sponsored the fund-raising and coordination drive to boost efforts to
control the epidemic.

Von der Leyen said the money will help develop a vaccine for the
novel coronavirus and help make sure it is shared with the most
vulnerable populations.

Johnson, a former pro-wrestler turned movie star, will host a
concert later on Saturday to be broadcast online.

That will feature celebrity artists such as Miley Cyrus, Salma
Hayek, Charlize Theron, Forest Whitaker and Angelique Kidjo.

“I have been really passionate about justice and equality and this
campaign is all about making sure that everyone everywhere has access
to the tools and solutions to end COVID-19,” Cyrus said. Also
involved were philanthropist Melinda Gates, along with World Health
Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The EU said 40 governments participated in the event, where many
announced national donations to the WHO, World Food Program and other
efforts to fight the pandemic internationally.

BSS/AFP/MRU/2255hrs