UK PM Johnson says wants openness on EU vaccine trade

·1-min read
Britain's PM Johnson speaks during weekly question-time debate in London

LONDON (Reuters) -Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday Britain was on the side of openness and did not want to see restrictions on the exchange of COVID-19 vaccines with the European Union.

The EU tightened its oversight of coronavirus vaccine exports on Wednesday, giving it greater scope to block shipments to countries with higher inoculation rates such as Britain, or which are not sharing doses they produce.

"One thing I would say is that we're on the side of openness. That's where we are. I don't want to see blockades of vaccines or medicines, I don't think that's the way forward either for us or any of our friends," Johnson said in a pooled interview for broadcasters.

He also denied a report that he said capitalism and greed gave Britain its success in vaccinating its population.

"That's obviously not what I said."

He went on to praise the role of both government and private companies in the success of the vaccine programme.

"Big companies decided to take a risk, to put their investments into bets that they didn't know would pay off - which is what capitalism is basically all about - and producing a life-changing result."

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by William James and Elizabeth Piper)