Celebrities, including Bono and Penelope Cruz, lend their voices to animated vaccine campaign

Less than 1 percent of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered globally have gone to people in low-income countries, according to a new analysis by the ONE Campaign –– and a new animated series is bringing in major star power to promote more equitable global vaccine excess. 

Set in the imaginary land of Pandemica, the series explains the need for herd immunity and the barriers in the way through a cast of non-human characters voiced by Patrick Adams, Samuel Arnold, Bono, Connie Britton, Penélope Cruz, Meg Donnelly, Danai Gurira, Nick Kroll, Laura Marano, Kumail Nanjiani, David Oyelowo, Phoebe Robinson, Michael Sheen, Wanda Sykes and Calum Worthy. 


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“Pandemica’s animated world animates a simple truth – that where you live shouldn’t determine whether you get these life-saving shots,” said Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE, in a release. “Even while many of us still wait our turn, we need to commit to making sure that billions of people around the world aren’t left at the back of the line. It’s the right thing to do, obviously, but it’s also the only way out of this pandemic for all of us. If the vaccine isn’t everywhere, this pandemic isn’t going anywhere.”

Six countries — Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the UK and US — in addition to the 27 in the European Union are “on track” to stockpile over 1.3 billion surplus COVID-19 vaccines, according to an analysis by ONE, more than enough to inoculate their entire populations. Vaccine hesitancy and a lack of access even within these countries, however, means that even less of the population will actually be vaccinated. 


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Of course the distribution of these vaccines isn’t that simple, with the rollout in the United States still limited to less than a quarter of the population. Still, the campaign is advocating for wealthier countries to share surplus doses of vaccines with lower income countries. 

“We’re all trapped in Pandemica, but only some can get out. This virus thrives on inequality, and right now billions of people around the world are seeing the promise of a vaccine, but not the opportunity to receive it,” said actor David Oyelowo, who plays a mountaineer in Pandemica, in the release. “We must step up and do what it takes to end this pandemic for everyone, everywhere.”

All seven episodes are available on the campaign’s YouTube channel and website in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands with translations or subtitles in French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and Pidgin English.


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