Britain’s Boris Johnson told a private meeting that “capitalism” and “greed” were behind their success in the vaccination programme. But he quickly retracted those words.
In a private meeting with Conservative Party MPs, Britain’s Boris Johnson said “capitalism” and “greed” were behind their success in the vaccination programme.
However, sources briefed by the BBC said Johnson quickly retracted those remarks immediately after making those remarks at the meeting.
One of the participants said he had never seen anyone try to undo a word that came out of his mouth “so quickly and violently.”
One MP said Johnson “knew as soon as he said that he was stirring things up and saw that he had exceeded his purpose.”
Some sources reported that Jonhson asked his participants to “erase their words from their collective memory.”
“Capitalism is the reason we have succeeded in vaccines, it’s because of greed, my friends,” Johnson said at the meeting, according to The Sun.
The British Prime Minister’s Office has not commented on the matter.
More than 28 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far. That’s more than half the adult population.
The UK’s programme uses AstraZeneca-Oxford and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
The BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg quoted an MP who briefed her on the meeting as saying Johnson had made the remarks during the meeting to “retale” a party official who quickly ate cheese and pickles.
Kuenssberg stressed that Johnson’s remarks underlined that he did not mean the recent problem with the European Union (EU) in the supply of vaccines.
There have been problems with the supply of vaccines between the UK and the EU for some time. Johnson has been negotiating in recent days to prevent the EU from making a decision to ban exports of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the UK.
Johnson also reportedly praised the work of major pharmaceutical companies during the pandemic and expressed satisfaction that AstraZeneca was selling the vaccines it produced to the UK at a cost price.