Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam is leaving his post as England’s deputy chief medical officer, Sajid Javid has confirmed.
Sir Jonathan, who was recently knighted, is departing his role to take up a new post at the University of Nottingham.
The health secretary said it has been “an honour” to work with Sir Jonathan and wished him “all the best for the future”.
“It has been an honour to work with JVT and I am hugely grateful for his advice & the vital role he has played in our vaccination programme,” he posted on Twitter.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “I would like to thank Jonathan Van-Tam for his extraordinary contribution to our country and his invaluable advice throughout the pandemic. Wishing him the very best for the future.”
Sir Jonathan has been on secondment to the Department of Health from the University of Nottingham since 2017 and will return to be the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the end of March.
Sir Jonathan 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.”
Sir Jonathan is widely known for his use of colourful quotes to break down the otherwise complex scientific data at the government’s coronavirus briefings, with his memorable creative takes on the latest medical advice labelled affectionately by some as ‘Van-Tamisms’.