Bono, Penélope Cruz, David Oyelowo, and more have lent their voices to a new animated series, Pandemica, created to raise awareness about the severely limited access to the Covid-19 vaccine in the world’s poorest countries.
Pandemica was spearheaded by the One Campaign, the global health and anti-poverty organization co-founded by Bono, in collaboration with Hive. The series was illustrated by artist Andrew Rae with animation by Titmouse and music and sound design by Father. The voice cast also boasts Connie Britton, Nick Kroll, Kumail Nanjiani, Phoebe Robinson, Michael Sheen, Wanda Sykes, Meg Donnelly, Patrick Adams, Dalai Gurira, Laura Marano, and Calum Worthy. Pandemica is available to watch on the One website, as well as the campaign’s YouTube page.
“Beyond the animation and subversive humor, you’ll see that Pandemica is the worst place to be in the Covid-19 pandemic,” Bono, U2’s lead singer and co-founder of One and (Red), tells Rolling Stone. “While Pandemica may not be a real place, for billions of people around the world it’s all too real. Vaccines now bring the hope of a way through, but it won’t be a way out unless every country on the planet has access to enough vaccines. If this vaccine isn’t everywhere, then this pandemic isn’t going anywhere.”
“Pandemica is a compelling illustration of the inequality around the world,” Cruz added in a statement. “I hope that everyone who watches this series will use their voice and take action to ensure that no one gets left behind.”
As it stands, less than 1% of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered globally have gone to people in low-income countries, while the richest countries in the world currently have a surplus of doses. An analysis published by One in February found that countries like the United States, the U.K., Japan, Canada, Australia, and those in the European Union were on track to cumulatively stockpile over a billion vaccine doses, despite having enough to vaccinate their entire populations.
For instance, One estimated the U.S. would have an extra 453,520,960 vaccine doses to share based on its current population and how many doses it had purchased from the five main vaccine manufacturers. Recently, the U.S. has tried to start addressing this problem, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying the U.S. planned to share 2.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with Mexico, and 1.5 million with Canada (American regulators have not yet approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, although it has been authorized elsewhere).