Professor Van-Tam: Former Covid-19 medical officer takes new job at vaccine developer Moderna

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One of the figureheads of the UK's Covid-19 pandemic response has left his position in the government - to work for vaccine maker Moderna.

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam served as the deputy chief medical officer during the pandemic, and became a familiar face on the government's weekly broadcasts and was seemingly well-liked by both his professional circle and the general public.

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England’s former deputy chief medical officer, Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam. (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)England’s former deputy chief medical officer, Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam. (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
England’s former deputy chief medical officer, Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam. (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/Pool/AFP via Getty Images) | Stefan Rousseau/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Having left his government post in March 2022, he has now taken a part-time advisory role with the American pharmaceutical company. Moderna is perhaps best known for providing one of the mass-produced Covid-19 vaccines, which are still used as booster jabs to this day.

As part of his appointment, there is a stipulation that he cannot lobby the Department for Health and Social Care, or have any say in procurement bids, until March 2024. His salary is not currently public knowledge, and he remains in his other job at the University of Nottingham.

Commenting on social media, there seems to be very little public opposition to Sir Jonathan's appointment - instead, as a popular figure from the pandemic, the British public seem to be supporting his new job.

Speaking to The Telegraph after leaving his government role, Sir Jonathan revealed that he would often be working for 16 hours a day, comparing it to "being on a warfront".

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He told the paper: "When you’ve been doing something that intense and serious, with that much responsibility hanging over you, I think whatever comes afterwards is going to be difficult to adjust to. It’s as simple as that.

"Given the days were so long – typically 16 hours at the start – you just have to chop the job into bits, into daily chunks."

In 2021, Professor Van-Tam and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty were both presented with a knighthood, for services to public health.

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