Covid-19 fundraising

Star-studded virtual concert raises over 6 billion euros for Covid-19 vaccine

US actor Dwayne Johnson at a movie premiere
US actor Dwayne Johnson at a movie premiere AFP/File

Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson teamed up with the European Commission and the advocacy group Global Citizen for a fundraising drive that raised 6.15 billion euros for research to find a vaccine for the coronavirus. The virtual concert was streamed live across the world on Saturday.


The event began with a pledge from European Union Commission president Ursula von der Leyen of 4.9 billion euros from the European Investment Bank, in partnership with the commission.

She thanked those other private and public donors who brought the total to 6.5 billion euros.

"We will only end this pandemic when it has been ended everywhere," she said at the start of the event.

Covid-19 has so far killed more than 463,000 people around the world, and more than 100 programmes to test potential vaccines are underway.

The EU-led initiative Coronavirus Global Response already raised over 7 billion at a first fund-raising summit on 4 May.

Saturday's concert kicked off at 8pm CET and was live-streamed across the world and co-hosted by von der Leyen and American actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

The concert featured Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Justin Bieber and Quavo, J Balvin, Chloe x Halle, Yemi Alade, and Christine and the Queens.

Miley Cyrus performed a rendition of Beatles' classic "Help!" in an empty stadium, while Jennifer Hudson sang on a boat on a river near Chicago.

Cyrus has urged donors committing funds for tests, treatments and vaccines to ensure they are developed in ways that everyone everywhere has access to them.

"The pandemic is hitting the world’s poor and marginalised people the hardest," she told an online panel prior to the event.

American singer Miley Cyrus at a concert in West Hollywood, California, February 2020
American singer Miley Cyrus at a concert in West Hollywood, California, February 2020 GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

A host of international advocates, experts, artists and activists joined the festivities including Angelique Kidjo, Melinda Gates, Dr. Vin Gupta, Ken Jeong, Charlize Theron, Hugh Jackman as well as retired soccer star David Beckham.

“As we fight this virus, we also need to take care of the most vulnerable people and address the challenges they’re facing right now,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the event.

Speakers also included the leaders of New Zealand, El Salvador, Sweden, South Africa and Barbados.

The initiative marked the conclusion of the Global Goal: Unite For Our Future campaign launched by the EU and activist group Global Citizen, which already brought together some of the world's most famous celebrities on April 19 for the global live-streamed concert One World: Together At Home.

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