Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam said: “My time as DCMO have been the most challenging of my professional career, especially the COVID response. We all wish COVID had never happened. Notwithstanding, it has been the greatest privilege of my professional career to have served the people of the UK during this time.
“I want to pay tribute to Professor Chris Whitty, the CMO team, my fellow scientists, public health professionals and clinicians whose support, wisdom and energy has been inspiring. There are countless numbers who work behind the scenes – all of whom have an unrelenting commitment to help and support the British public. It has been an honour to work with them all.
“I will continue to work until the end of March and look forward to the next challenge,” he concluded.
Professor Chris Whitty said: “Professor Van-Tam has been an outstanding DCMO and public servant. I am profoundly thankful for his steadfast support, advice, leadership and commitment. His communication of public health advice and science has been remarkable.”
Van-Tam, who was knighted in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to public health, was appointed to the expert advisory group for the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce in May 2020.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It has been an honour to work side-by-side with Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam and I am hugely grateful for his advice and guidance since I became Health and Social Care Secretary.
“JVT’s one-of-a-kind approach to communicating science over the past two years has no doubt played a vital role in protecting and reassuring the nation, and made him a national treasure.
“I pay tribute to his relentless work ethic, sense of public duty and leading role in our incredible vaccination programme – on behalf of DHSC I wish him the best of luck on his return to the University of Nottingham,” he said.
Van-Tam, who is a supporter and season ticket holder at Boston United FC, became synonymous with football analogies during the government’s daily Covid press conferences.
University of Nottingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said: “All of us at the University are incredibly proud of Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam’s work as Deputy Chief Medical Officer, in which he has played a major role in steering the nation through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am delighted that Jonathan is returning to Nottingham to join our executive team and lead our renowned Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences as its next Pro-Vice-Chancellor.”
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