Covid: Jonathan Van-Tam lands senior role at coronavirus jab manufacturer Moderna

Jonathan Van-Tam

He has landed a senior role at the American pharmacutical company

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 18/08/2023

- 10:05

The former deputy chief medical officer became a household name during the pandemic as part of the Government's vaccine task force

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, the former deputy chief medical officer who became the face of the government’s Covid response, has landed a senior role at vaccine producer Moderna.

He regularly featured at Downing Street press conferences during the pandemic, as a member of the Government’s vaccine task force who made decisions on “all vaccine supply contracts and major investments and clinical opportunities”.

Van Tam, who was given the nickname JVT during the pandemic, stepped down from the Government in March 2022.

The UK’s former deputy chief medical officer, who was regarded by many as a household name, took up the role of part-time consulting clinical advisor to Moderna in May.

eputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and NHS Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Downing Street, London

He became a regular at Downing Street press conferences during the pandemic


Moderna said the professor will work part time “as part of a portfolio-based career which includes staying on at the University of Nottingham as senior strategy adviser in medicine”.

The American pharmaceutical company said his appointment was “in accordance with the Department for Health and Social Care in England’s business appointment rules policy”.

Dr Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said Van-Tam would be of great benefit to the vaccine manufacturer.

He cited his “significant experience and expertise as a specialist in influenza, including its epidemiology, transmission, vaccinology and pandemic preparedness, as well as a globally renowned academic and educator, will be a vital asset”.

Van-Tam who was knighted last year for his work in the pandemic.

He became known for various sporting analogies to explain the different stages of the pandemic.

Describing the vaccine rollout in December 2020, he said: “It’s clear in the first half, the away team gave us an absolute battering . . . In the 70th minute we’ve now got an equaliser. OK, we’ve got to hold our nerve now, see if we can get another goal and nick it.”

The Government bought 77 million Moderna vaccines, in two batches, during the Covid outbreak.

This was fewer than the amount they bought of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer jabs.

Moderna vacine

The UK has entered a 10 year deal with the vaccine producer


Last year, the UK entered a 10-year-deal with Moderna to produce more than 250 million vaccines a year in the event of another pandemic.

The partnership will give NHS patients access to a wide range of vaccines for other respiratory diseases, such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

It will also create more than 150 jobs, with the building of a vaccine manufacturing centre.

Steve Barclay, secretary of state for health and social care, said: “It is vital we invest in fighting future variants of this disease as well as other deadly viruses that are circulating, such as seasonal flu and RSV, and this partnership with Moderna will also strengthen our ability to respond to any future pandemics.”

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