Speaking at Tuesday’s coronavirus press conference, Johnson said there were “many things” his Government would have done differently to tackle the crisis, while Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, said the UK’s performance represents a “bad outcome” on an international level.
There was, of course, plenty of response to the comments. Nick Dearden, director of the Global Justice Now campaign, which is campaigning for wider international access to jabs, said: “The Prime Minister will call this comment a slip of the tongue, but it’s an incredibly revealing remark.
“It shows just how warped his understanding of this crisis is. We have a vaccine because of massive public investment and the remarkable work of scientists at publicly-funded universities. We’ve rolled it out because of our incredible National Health Service.
“Greed, however, drove big pharma to privatise this work and withhold doses from millions worldwide to protect their profits.”
Greed and capitalism, my friends
— Global Justice Now (@Global Justice Now)
Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester and former health secretary Andy Burnham said: “Celebrating ‘greed’ in a pandemic? Same old Tories.”
Celebrating “greed” in a pandemic?
Same old Tories.
Disgusting comment from Boris Johnson tonight. According to the BBC, at a meeting of Tory MPs he said that the succ… https://t.co/RZMiWNddJ2
— Dr Gabriel Scally (@Dr Gabriel Scally)
"Capitalism & greed" are the reasons why Boris Johnson's Tories have filtered billions of pounds of our money into… https://t.co/OwESVMZWN1
— Shauny - Póg Mo Thóin🦒 (@Shauny - Póg Mo Thóin🦒)
The comments also risk inflaming a row with the European Commission over access to vaccines, with the organisation’s president Ursula von der Leyen threatening a ban on exports of jabs to the UK because it is angry that AstraZeneca has not supplied the doses expected for the bloc.