Jonathan Van-Tam

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Jonathan Van-Tam

S960 Professor Van-Tam (cropped).jpg
Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England
Assumed office
2 October 2017
Serving with Jenny Harries (June 2019 – March 2021)[2]
Aidan Fowler (2020–present)[3]
Preceded byJohn Watson
Personal details
Jonathan Stafford Nguyen Van-Tam

(1964-02-02) 2 February 1964 (age 57)[4]
Boston, Lincolnshire, England
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham
ProfessionPublic health physician[5]

Jonathan Stafford Nguyen Van-Tam MBE (born 2 February 1964)[4] is a British healthcare professional specialising in influenza, including its epidemiology, transmission, vaccinology, antiviral drugs and pandemic preparedness.

After hospital work he was involved variously as a university lecturer and within the pharmaceutical industry. Van-Tam has been a Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England since 2 October 2017. As of 2021, he is one of two deputies.[7]

Early life[edit]

Van-Tam was born and grew up in Boston, Lincolnshire.[8] He is partially of Vietnamese descent.[9] He attended Boston Grammar School where his father, Paul Nguyen Van-Tam, was a teacher of mathematics.[10] He graduated in medicine from the University of Nottingham in 1987.[5] He was awarded bachelor's degrees in medical sciences (BMedSci (Hons)) in 1985 and in medicine and surgery (MBBS) in 1987.[11][12] He was awarded a doctorate of medicine DM for a thesis on epidemiology in 2001. His other qualifications include Fellowships of the Faculty of Public Health FFPH, the Royal College of Pathologists FRCPath and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine Hon FFPM. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health FRSPH and of the Royal Society of Biology FRSB.[13]


After five years of hospital-based clinical medicine, Van-Tam pursued academic training in public health and epidemiology and developed an interest in influenza and respiratory viruses, mentored for many years by Professor Karl Nicholson. He became a senior lecturer at the University of Nottingham (and consultant regional epidemiologist, Public Health Laboratory Service) in 1997,[14] before joining the pharmaceutical industry as an associate director at SmithKline Beecham in 2000.

In April 2001, he moved to Roche as head of medical affairs, before joining Aventis Pasteur MSD in February 2002 as UK medical director.

Van-Tam returned to the public sector in 2004 at the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, where he was head of the pandemic influenza office until October 2007. He then returned to Nottingham as professor of health protection. He has published over 100 scientific papers and written four textbooks. He chaired the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Expert Advisory Group on H5N1 human vaccines, sits on the UK national Scientific Pandemic Influenza Committee (SPI), and was a member of the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) during the 2009-10 pandemic. He is co-editor of the textbook Introduction to Pandemic Influenza[15] and was editor-in-chief of the journal Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses from 2014 to 2017.[16]

His unit is an officially designated WHO Collaborating Centre for pandemic influenza and research and a UK Faculty of Public Health "National Treasure" research training location.

Since 2014, he has been chair of the UK government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG).

On 2 October 2017, he took up the role of Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.[17] In this capacity, he gained nationwide visibility during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.[18][19] In May 2020, he was appointed to the expert advisory group for the UK Government's Vaccine Taskforce, chaired by Patrick Vallance.[20]


Van-Tam was appointed an MBE (Military Division) in the 1998 New Year Honours as Acting Maj Jonathan Stafford Nguyen-Van-Tam, Lincolnshire Army Cadet Force. It was awarded in recognition of his work in designing a medical kit to meet the special requirements of large groups of teenagers on camping expeditions. This sprang from his work with the Lincolnshire Army Cadets since 1988. His ideas were accepted by the Ministry of Defence.

Personal life[edit]

Van-Tam's grandfather was Nguyễn Văn Tâm, nicknamed the Tiger of Cai Lậy, who served as Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam, and his uncle was Nguyễn Văn Hinh, chief of staff of the Vietnamese National Army and the first Vietnamese officer in the French Armed Forces to be promoted to the rank of general.[10]

Van-Tam is a supporter and season ticket holder at Boston United.[21][22]


  1. ^ "Open letter from Deputy Chief Medical Officer to UK residents who have volunteered to take part in COVID-19 vaccine studies". GOV.UK. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Professor Chris Whitty". GOV.UK. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Dr Aidan Fowler". GOV.UK. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b [Anon.] (2020). "Nguyen-Van-Tam, Prof. Jonathan Stafford". Who's Who. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U293192. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  5. ^ a b "General Medical Register". General Medical Council. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  6. ^ "'Didn't hurt a bit - thanks JVT!': Matt Hancock gets AstraZeneca jab from Professor Jonathan Van-Tam". Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  7. ^ Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Aidan Fowler GOV.UK Retrieved 13 February 2021
  8. ^ Mendick, Robert (3 December 2020). "Jonathan Van-Tam: how a lover of metaphors became an unlikely cult hero". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Johnathan Nguyen-Van-Tam". International Vietnamese Academics Network. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  10. ^ a b Bagley, Geo. S. (1985). Floreat Bostona, The history of Boston Grammar School from 1567. The Old Bostonian Association. p. 242. ISBN 978-0951043103.
  11. ^ The Medical Directory 2006/07. 2 (162 ed.). London: Informa Healthcare. 2006. p. 2443. ISBN 1-843115425.
  12. ^ "General Medical Council". Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Linkedin". Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  14. ^ Professor Jonathan Van-Tam to be Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Archived 21 March 2020 at the Wayback Machine University of Nottingham
  15. ^ Van-Tam, Jonathan; Sellwood, Chloe (2009). Introduction to pandemic influenza. CABI Publishing. ISBN 978-1845936259.
  16. ^ "Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses - Editorial Board". Wiley Online Library. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  17. ^ "New Deputy Chief Medical Officer appointed". UK Government. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  18. ^ New financial measures to help UK through coronavirus pandemic to be announced by government ITV News, 17 March 2020
  19. ^ "Coronavirus: UK trialling existing and new medicines". BBC News. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  20. ^ Funding and manufacturing boost for UK vaccine programme Government of the United Kingdom, press release of 17 May 2020.
  21. ^ "Here's why Boston United has been trending nationally on Twitter". LincolnshireLive. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  22. ^ "Prof Van-Tam - Boston United superfan" – via