During a closed video conference with members of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson said that capitalism and greed are behind the success of vaccinations in the country, the Sun reports, citing a quote in which the British Prime Minister asks to “forget” about these words.

“The reason we have success with vaccines is because of capitalism, because of greed, friends,” the tabloid quoted Johnson as saying during a conference at Zoom. “In general, I regret that I said this,” the prime minister added and asked the parliamentarians to “forget” his words, the newspaper points out.

A parliamentarian who heard Johnson’s comments told Sky News that the prime minister was only joking about the “philanthropy” of AstraZeneca.

According to Sun sources, the prime minister’s words were not related to problems in relations between the EU and the UK regarding the supply of vaccines. Johnson noted the successes of pharmaceutical companies in rapidly producing vaccines. According to the publication, the sources say the comment about “capitalism” referred to the desire of corporations to profit from production.

The Financial Times previously reported that the EU intends to block the AstraZeneca vaccine’s export on its territory to Britain. The pharmaceutical company is delaying the doses of the drug promised to European countries. The European Union has its own contracts with the vaccine manufacturer. Their conditions are not respected. Therefore vaccine doses and ingredients produced in European enterprises will be used for supplies only within the EU.

The UK responded by announcing its readiness to share with the EU the Dutch-made AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine ordered for itself to prevent a complete EU export ban on the drug, the Times reported, citing sources.