UK: Johnson says ‘greed’, ‘capitalism’ behind vaccine successes | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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 UK: Johnson says 'greed', 'capitalism' behind vaccine successes |  News on the coronavirus pandemic


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told lawmakers in his ruling Conservative Party that ‘capitalism’ and ‘greed’ were behind the UK’s rapid COVID-19 vaccination program.
Johnson’s comments on Tuesday, reported by The Sun newspaper, were made in a closed-door meeting with Tory MPs in which he also praised drug companies for developing high-speed vaccines.

“The reason we have the success of the vaccine is because of capitalism, because of the greed of my friends,” Johnson said.

Johnson then attempted to step back on the comments, apparently telling his fellow Conservatives to ‘forget’ what he said and adding that he regretted his initial remarks.

The UK observed a national day of reflection on Tuesday, a year after its first COVID-19 lockdown.

The pandemic has killed more than 125,000 people in the UK and plunged the economy into recession.

At the time of publication, the prime minister’s office had not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.

Home Secretary Priti Patel told UK Sky News on Wednesday that she did not attend the meeting.

Row of UK-EU vaccines

UK is gradually easing lockdown restrictions as part of a plan supported by the success of the nationwide vaccination campaign, which has seen more than 28 million people receive a first dose so far – one of the deployments the fastest in the world.

But tensions are high with the European Union over the offer as the bloc plans to impose a vaccine export ban on the UK.

It is understood that this decision aims to ensure that the EU does not export more vaccines than it imports.

On Tuesday, an EU official said the European Commission would expand the bloc’s powers to potentially block vaccine exports to the UK – and other regions with much higher vaccination rates. The measures will also prevent companies from reloading contracted supplies.

The EU’s own vaccination campaign, plagued by shortages and delays, is lagging behind the UK and other countries, including the US and Israel.

Johnson’s comments, which an unidentified source told The Sun were unrelated to the EU’s fury, could ignite the dispute.

‘Insulting’

His remarks also drew criticism online, as politicians and public figures took to Twitter to condemn the sentiments reported by the prime minister.

Andy Burnham, opposition Labor Party member and Mayor of Greater Manchester, tweeted: “Celebrating ‘greed’ in a pandemic? The same old conservatives.

Labor MP Peter Kyle said the vaccines were delivered through “scientific genius and surprisingly hard work”.

“Two features that escape [Boris Johnson]He tweeted.

Francis O ‘Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which represents trade unions in the UK, said: “What an insulting way to thank our brilliant scientists, researchers, NHS staff and volunteers.”

Several health workers also expressed their dismay.

“Disgusting remarks,” posted on Twitter Julia Grace Patterson, physician and executive director of campaign group EveryDoctor.

“The tremendous efforts of scientists and healthcare workers have been crowned with success. What will ensure that large sections of the world’s population cannot safely access vaccines? Capitalism and greed. ”



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