Who is Jonathan Van-Tam? Deputy chief medical officer for England – The Sun

DEPUTY chief medical officer Professor Jonathan has warned of a "potentially problematic" Christmas.

Here's what he dose and how he's worked battling Covid-19?


Who is Jonathan Van-Tam?

Jonathan Stafford Nguyen Van-Tam MBE is a British specialist in influenza, including its epidemiology, transmission, vaccinology, antiviral drugs and pandemic preparedness.

Van-Tam was awarded an MBE (military section) in the 1998 New Year's Honours when he was Acting Major Jonathan Stafford Nguyen-Van-Tam, Lincolnshire Army Cadet Force.

It was awarded in recognition of his work in designing a first aid kit to meet the special requirements of large groups of teenagers on camping expeditions.

On October 2, 2017, he took up the role of deputy chief medical officer for England.

What has he said about the coronavirus pandemic?

He has warned of a "potentially problematic" Christmas due to Covid-19 and said he thinks there will be "hard months to come".

He said the UK is at "half-time in extra time" in tackling coronavirus.

"I think the final whistle in terms of – I can't predict it – but my personal view is that we've got a few more months to run, and I think we'll be in a much calmer set of waters by spring," he told BBC Breakfast.

Prof Van-Tam said too many people believe the pandemic is now over.

"I personally feel there are some hard months to come in the winter and it is not over," he said.

Asked how a Christmas lockdown can be prevented, he said: "Christmas, and indeed all of the darker winter months, are potentially going to be problematic."

He said the things that "are really going to determine this" are the success of the vaccination programmes and how careful people are, particularly in the next couple of months.

"I think a whole range of behaviours, including the use of face coverings, but generally the caution that people take or don't take in terms of interacting with each other – that is going to be a big determinant in what happens between now and the kind of darkest months of the winter," he said.

He added that it was crucial for people to take up offers of booster and flu jabs.

Prof Van-Tam said infection rates are still very high at the moment – higher than in most of Europe.

"It's of concern to scientists that we are running this hot this early in the autumn season," he added.

While he acknowledged that hospital admissions have levelled off in the last four days, he said he was worried deaths were rising and there were signs infections were starting to "penetrate" older age groups.

What's his role during UK coronavirus crisis?

Van-Tam has a high-profile role as England's deputy chief medical officer during the coronavirus pandemic.

His job is as a medical adviser to the Government and the deputy to Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Adviser to the UK Government.

He is one of three Three Deputy Chief Medical Officers who "support the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in their role as independent adviser to government on medical matters and the Head of Profession for all directors of public health in local government," says the Gov.uk website.

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