Northern Virginia elected leader volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trial

The way one Northern Virginia leader sees it, getting elected to public office means signing up for public service — even if that includes joining a clinical trial during a pandemic.

David Snyder of the Falls Church City Council is among 30,000 participants in a nationwide third-phase Moderna trial to develop and safely test a coronavirus vaccine against COVID-19.

“This provided a direct opportunity to play a role as all elected officials do in trying to support the health, welfare and safety of their local communities,” Snyder said.

Describing his experience, Snyder said it’s about the most painless public service you can do.

David Snyder Volunteered to take part in the Phase Three trial of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine. (Courtesy David Snyder)

“The upside is so significant here that it’s worth whatever element of your personal sacrifice that you’re putting into it,” he said.

Snyder volunteered with the George Washington University portion of the study by following a link in a WTOP story about the effort.

The process, which began Sept. 15, 2020 for Snyder, involved getting contacted, being interviewed, undergoing a thorough medical examination, receiving two shots weeks apart and agreeing to medical tracking expected to last a couple years.

Snyder said the vaccine’s reported efficacy rate of 95% is wonderful, but he doesn’t want that to foster complacency.

“The vaccine may provide a light at the end of the tunnel, but that light is still far away and we are still very much in the dark tunnel phase,” he said.

Snyder warns that the virus remains a threat; he urges everyone to keep respecting safety guidelines.

Noting that extended family members of his have recently contracted the coronavirus after months of diligence, Snyder said that only reinforces for him the possibility that the pandemic will get worse before it gets better.

“We really need to double down,” he said. “Emphasize again the importance of social distancing and mask wearing, reducing gatherings, being every bit as careful as we were in April and May — and in fact, more careful.”

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