#UPDATE US State Department issues travel warning saying Moscow "may single out and detain US citizens in Russia".
Citing the potential for harassment of US citizens by Russian authorities, the warning repeats calls for Americans not to travel to Russia or to leave "immediately" pic.twitter.com/uMrcgTcypd
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 30, 2022
Published in Politico, but Michelle Berdy is actually a reporter for the independent Moscow Times:
… I hadn’t set out to spend my life in Moscow. After graduating from college in 1978, I came to Moscow to continue studying Russian and become a translator. Except for a few years in the 1980s, I’ve lived there ever since. I worked as a translator and interpreter, as a field producer and reporter in television journalism, a manager of non-profit communication programs, and at The Moscow Times newspaper for almost 20 years. I write a column about Russian language and culture, and since 2015 I’ve been the arts editor.
Along the way, I got married and divorced, danced at weddings and attended funerals, was a godmother and an honorary auntie, bought an apartment and a series of Russian cars, spent my summers at the dacha, sang in a choir, traveled around the countryside with my Russian therapy dog, learned how to make Siberian dumplings, went to every art exhibition and museum, and had favorite seats at the Bolshoi. I have friends I’ve known for four decades and watched as their toddlers grew up and became parents with toddlers of their own…
On Friday, March 4, the eighth day of the war, the Russian Parliament passed a law on the media. “Fake news” about the war would be punished by up to 15 years in jail. The law’s definition of “fake news” clarified that the war could not be called “a war.” It had to be called a “special military operation.” The terms “invasion” or “aggression” were also prohibited. Anything that “discredited” the armed forces was illegal, but what “discreditation” consisted of was not specified. Only Russian government and state-media sources could be used by non-state media.
At the newspaper, we reported on the law and expected that it would be signed into effect that night. We didn’t think, however, that it was applicable to Western media like us; The Moscow Times was registered in the Netherlands.
That night I woke up like a shot at 3 a.m. In my kitchen, I groped in the dark for my television remote. My cable service had CNN, BBC, EuroNews and several other foreign news channels. The law was only a few hours old, but my TV screen lit up with an announcement that CNN was no longer available. BBC and the other news channels were still on the air, but when I flipped through my Twitter feed, it was a list of closures. Znak, an independent news outlet based in Yekaterinburg — one of the last internet publications still publishing — had closed. BBC, ABC, CBS were leaving at least until they assessed the situation. Apparently, the law would apply to non-Russian media, too…
It was time to leave. But I still wasn’t sure. Maybe I was being alarmist. Maybe it wasn’t that bad. I called my old friend, Yevgeniya Albats, known as Zhenya to her friends, a journalist and writer who always has a handle on the truth — and isn’t afraid of it. At her apartment, Zhenya made tea and opened a bottle of wine — because you never know what you need, she said — as I went through my panicked reasoning. Was I in danger?
Zhenya had just spent a couple of hours that morning discussing the new law with a lawyer specializing in media regulation. Theoretically, she said, it was the owner or editor who would be fined or punished for a violation, not the writer. So I was probably not in any real danger.
Pause. “On the other hand,” she said, “there’s always the risk of hostage-taking.”…
Zhenya would stay. “I’ve already said or written everything I think a hundred times over. They know everything about me. If they wanted to arrest me, they would have done so already,” she said. “Besides, it’s my country. Someone has to stay and tell people what’s happening.”
Before I left, we poured glasses of wine. It was Saturday, March 5, the day that Joseph Stalin died in 1953. We raised our glasses and said the traditional toast: “That one died, and this one will, too.”…
…[A] friend in Latvia told me about a transport service she had taken: a van from Moscow to Riga via a smaller Estonian border crossing with fewer trucks to clog things up. One van took you to the Russian border; another picked you up on the Estonian side and drove you to Latvia. Pets welcome. No cages. She could pick me up in Riga, the Latvian capital. In fact, she could help find me an apartment and get me settled. Best of all, there was a van set to leave in four days, Wednesday night, and it would cost 190 euros — 90 for me, 100 for my dog. Riga had a large Russian population and a growing Russian diaspora. My dog would be more comfortable in a van…
By late afternoon on Wednesday, I was somehow ready: a big-wheeled suitcase filled with clothes I would need at first, a computer bag, a travel bag with food for my dog, a purse and a bag of children’s clothes a doting Moscow grandmother desperately wanted to send to her grandson in Riga. I had been told that we’d have to walk between the border posts, so I practiced hauling it all. Heavy but possible…
We piled out of the van. It was about 3 a.m. and bitterly cold — my phone showed 0 degrees Fahrenheit — and the asphalt was covered with thick, uneven layers of dirty ice. In my suitcase-hauling practice, I had failed to take that into consideration. First, we hauled our bags and dogs to one booth. The window opened and I handed over my passport and entry card; the guard handed it back and told me to go to customs. I dragged everything over another expanse of ice to a small building, hauled it inside, piled it all on the x-ray conveyer belt, and answered questions. No, I didn’t have anything forbidden. Yes, I had two computers. No, I had no plants or drugs. The Russian guards were polite. I took my passport and hauled everything outside again, on to the next booth.
This booth, I realized only afterward, was the Important Booth. Here you handed your documents through a window to the guards and waited. I stood outside with one of my van-mates, a middle-aged woman in a thin wool coat. The French bulldog family was delayed behind us. “The other two were taken inside,” my van-mate told me. We stood there for about an hour in the frigid cold. Every once in a while the booth window would open and they’d call one of us over. “What is your work?” “Did you leave the country in the last two years?” And then the window would close and they’d go back to their computers. Later the woman told me they’d asked her, “We see you were in Kyiv in 2013. What did you do there? Who did you see?”
I walked back and forth with my dog, jumped up and down to keep warm, and waited. Finally, the window opened, my van-mate got her passport and started walking toward Estonia. After another 10 minutes, I was called up and handed mine. Relief; I could go. I put the computer bag on top of the wheeled suitcase, draped the two bags with clothes and dog food over my shoulders and hung my purse around my neck. I dragged the suitcase with one hand and held my dog’s leash with the other. Estonia was at the end of a long, ice-covered road — about 800 meters, a half-mile, the guards said. “See those lights way off there? That’s Estonia.”
It is very hard to drag 150 lbs. of luggage across a half-mile of ice in the middle of the night in below 0 temperatures with a dog on a leash…
In the two weeks between the start of the war and my departure from Russia, I had wept constantly. I cried when I walked my dog in the park across the street, where I knew every bush and tree and patch of grass; when I sat at my desk looking out at my beloved Moscow courtyard; when I bought bread at my local bakery; when I drove a familiar route along the Moscow River, past the Kremlin, and then homeward along one of Moscow’s central avenues. I couldn’t imagine that it might be the last time I’d see places that had been the backdrop of absolutely everything important that had happened to me in my adult life, where there were so many people and so much that I loved.
But now work, the novelty of a new city, the daily battle with iPhones and computers, keep me in a continuous present tense. I don’t think about the future beyond next week; I don’t think about the past. Except to realize that even if I can go back to Russia, it won’t be the Russia I loved.
Maybe that superstition is right: Once you shut the door, walk away and don’t look back.
What a journey.
Sad to hear this. Michelle Berdy is terrific.
Old Man Shadow
Except to realize that even if I can go back to Russia, it won’t be the Russia I loved.
No, it won’t.
And it won’t be the same Ukraine either.
There will be new buildings where old ones stood. Put up after the rubble was cleared. After the bodies were found, taken, identified, and buried.
There will be buildings pockmarked with bullet holes.
There will be empty seats around dining tables. Constant reminders of loved ones who will never come home or visit for holidays. Whose smiles and laughter will never be heard again.
There will be scars, missing limbs, mental trauma, PTSD. Children will have nightmares calling out for parents that will never answer.
There will be landmines left behind. Fields cordoned off to protect the public from them.
Young Russian soldiers, pressed into service, tortured by their superiors, fed into a meat grinder, and then discarded will be forgotten. Their suffering likely taken out on wives or children.
The ripples of one man’s evil ambitions will flow out for years… decades…
Holy mackerel. Quite the story. So terrible what has happened to Russia.
There but for the grace of the FSM. I see parallels. Putin’s behavior and actions leading Russia and what Trump really wanted as president. Subservience. Being worshiped. Had Trump’s coup worked, I wonder if camps would have sprouted up here in the states ‘for subversives’. I believe they would have.
So we are entering phase 2.
Wow, it’s a great essay, well worth reading. She is an expert on translation issues between Russian and English.
O. Felix Culpa
“In four weeks of combat, Russia may have lost 25 percent of its initial attacking force.” Source
West of the Rockies
@Old Man Shadow:
All of what you say is true. Because one dreary little goblin hungers for power and cash.
Trump is our Putin.
O. Felix Culpa
I’m glad she left. It’s hard to get the timing right, and the tendency is to not want to overreact. But the consequence of waiting too long can be dire. She made the right call.
Moving essay. I learned Russian intensively long ago, and it has been an immense help in my career as a physicist. I love the language and the company of Russian speaking friends. I haven’t been there in many years (the Putin era has not been kind to Russian physics, banking and IT are better careers) but I see Russian colleagues in various labs and (post COVID) online. I was hoping to go back to visit as I shift to part time work. But now….as Pushkin wrote
Куда, куда вы удалились
Весны мои златые дни
(Where, oh where have you gone
Oh golden days of my youth.)
@West of the Rockies: Trump is like Putin with ADD, for which I’m, not thankful but relieved he didn’t cause even more damage than he did. “Hey Donny, shiny bug!” “Oooh!”
@Old Man Shadow: It’s so sad, the damage one person with unchecked power can cause.
O. Felix Culpa
@trollhattan: I once would have said that Putin is also smarter than TFG (not a high bar, mind you), but now, one wonders.
@O. Felix Culpa: He’s smarter than TFG but not as smart as people seem to think.
O. Felix Culpa
@zhena gogolia: I think you’re right. He’s not the multi-dimensional chess wizard he was held up to be. He also seems to have drunk his own koolaid.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
If you really want to dread the future; Russia is pretty much in the same situation as Italy was in WWI and in the aftermath there were a lot of pissed off vets who were treated like shit, saw their friends die by the thousands in futal attacks and then were blamed for the defeates. They became the Blackshirts and lead to Mussoline.
Yeah. Exactly. Hopefully, we never have another fascist shitstain (read Republican) in the Oval Office, because one that isn’t a lazy manbaby could really, really fuck up this country given half a chance.
And not within a country mile of how smart he thinks he is. To me this is the big one. He obviously thinks he’s a world historical genius. In practice he’s gotten a lot (at least in international relations) because people have tended to ignore him, not because his plans are so clever. Basically, he got 15 years of playing on easy mode, and that makes him think he’s a great player.
@O. Felix Culpa: Yep. Because bottom line, Trump gets to play golf every fucking day, cheating his ass off (hole-in-one — bullshit) and then go to sleep on extra-comfy beds, all at places he “owns” but that are paid for by the US taxpayer, all while protected by agents paid for by the US taxpayer.
Putin, OTOH, never knows which sip of tea will be his last unpoisoned moment of serenity.
@Roger Moore: Yeah. He’s like TFG in his boundless self-love.
Is that assessment because the soldiers said “whoops” afterward, or because intelligence has decided they can’t hit anything they’re deliberately aiming at?
O. Felix Culpa
@Old Man Shadow: Beautifully put, and sad. I worry about the long-term trauma effects on both the individual and national levels. The aftermath of WWI is not an encouraging example, among others. Nonetheless, this war must be fought and hopefully won by the Ukrainians.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Odd, you should say this. Some MAGA was lecturing everyone on facebook that the Republicans are the REAL Traitors.
I am not sure how that would have worked, considering Trump and MAGA hats are such lazy fuck up, the Republicans knowing they were the enemies list would have had all kind of reasons to screw such a program up, the means to do it and not be noticed.
But it does make me wonder if the Republicans were being less than enthusiastic about supporting Trump re-election in 2020 because they didn’t like the rumors they were hearing from his admin.
Some time back in the GW days I started to think about what is involved in emigrating. It was only two generations ago after all that my grandparents left Eastern Europe as teens; their friends and family who stayed behind mostly died in Hitler’s camps.
I decided that part of it was connecting the dots but a big part of it was plain old logistics. Michelle Berdy did connect the dots, even if it was at the last actionable moment.
She only had herself and a dog to plan for, not a family, which is more people and therefore more expense. She is bilingual, experienced and adept at negotiating life overseas, and has an US passport.
I’m not saying what she did was difficult and smart, that she isn’t tremendously cool under pressure and resourceful. All that is true.
I’m saying that I long ago realized my family and I are not capable of emigrating. I didn’t even entertain any such fantasies during the Trump years.
O. Felix Culpa
The weird thing about narcissists is that they are entirely self-absorbed and entirely empty inside. They’re incapable of love and don’t [can’t] even love themselves. That’s why they need constant external reinforcement from others about how wonderful they are.
@O. Felix Culpa:
I’m wonderful, right?
O. Felix Culpa
@Baud: Hehe. And you have your very own admiring
@O. Felix Culpa:
Thank you. Urge to harm others fading….
I also gave serious thought to emigrating during the W years – but, besides not having the skills that the countries I would want to go to prefer, I also have cats, who would face a 6-month quarantine. These kitties kept me sane and alive through some dark times, and I certainly at least owe them the consideration of not leaving them with strangers for that long. So, in the end, I opted against.
But – the mental exercise of thinking about emigrating, in concrete terms, gave me a little glimpse into what it must be like to uproot yourself from the home you chose, the place that became your place, for somewhere new. Sense of adventure, oh yes. But also terribly lonely. Magnified enormously if the move isn’t voluntary.
Chacal Charles Calthrop
@Old Man Shadow: you forgot the ones poisoned by radiation around Chernobyl: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/unprotected-russian-soldiers-disturbed-radioactive-dust-chernobyls-red-forest-2022-03-28/
apparently at least part of the reason the Russian troops were doing such insanely risky sh*t around the radioactive reactor carcass was that they’d never heard of the accident and had no idea of the danger.
@Baud: Yes you are.
@O. Felix Culpa: Peat moss loves Baud!
@Baud: O, wondrous Baud! When you go away it’s like sunshine without a mustache.
Old Man Shadow
@Chacal Charles Calthrop: But at least after an excruciating death from cancer later, their families MIGHT get $100 as a death benefit.
@West of the Rockies:
Trump is our Putin.
He is and he isn’t.
SFB is a pissant, a tiny little shit, a human of limited intelligence voted in office by racists who think that all their problems are caused by others and someone thinks just like them who started out in life stealing from his family. He’s failed at everything he’s tried to accomplish in his entire life, because he’s always failed at life.
vova may be currently insane but he got to the top of his government in the way it has been done in his government for his entire life. By being worse than everyone else, not dumber and wealthy. Yes he’s wealthy now, supposedly the worlds wealthiest man but he came by that dishonestly like it’s often done in his country. He’s actually held a job and risen to the top of the pile. Of course it was a job that required him to kill anyone in his way but still he managed to get to the top.
So no, they aren’t the same. You are correct in that they are equally fine examples in our respective countries of the worst of the worst of human beings.
My late father, who fled Germany in 1936 with most of his family when he was 7, was sad to abandon Max, his beloved rocking horse. The adults in his family left behind considerably more, both tangible and intangible.
My late aunt was very reticent about what she and her family left behind in Sacramento when they were sent to a “relocation” [sic] camp in the USA during WWII. But at a minimum, they left the home she grew up in, and most of their belongings.
Michelle Berdy writes eloquently not just for herself, but for refugees and displaced persons the world over. Thank you to Anne Laurie for posting the essay.
What? Everyone knows the Sun is clean shaven and rocks sunglasses.
And it always offers two scoops of raisins with my cereal.
@Ohio Mom: If Trump gets re-elected/installed in 2024 my wife wants me to seriously consider moving to Canada or Australia. We’re both tech professionals and have young kids, so we could do it.
But man, that is not a step I want to take.
Villago Delenda Est
Meanwhile, Putin fellator Glemm Greenwald bitches about Ukrainian “press infringement”.
@O. Felix Culpa: I wonder whether the remaining 75% will just stop obeying orders at some point. Maybe they already have.
@MisterForkbeard: We’re not even waiting for the elections. We were planning on retiring abroad anyway, but now to be safe and leave some buffer, we plan to be out six months before the elections.
@MisterForkbeard: I don’t have any options. No foreign connections, and I’m too old for a country to take me. So I’ll just have to work here to make sure TFG never gets near the Oval Office again. And hope.
@Villago Delenda Est:
There are people who make being a member of the human race not very appealing. Then there are assholes like this one who is several steps below not very appealing.
But then I remember there are billions of us and sure some of them are going to be defective models and that he absolutely qualifies as one. Now if only there wasn’t such a large percentage of defective models. Even 5% of several billion is too large a number.
@kindness: As do I.
@Old Man Shadow: So very well stated.
I ask the question, what do you do about the defective models where ever you move to? Every place has them. Hopefully not in as large a percentage but still defective models…
@Ruckus: Every place has defective models, but what I’ve learned is that our government, dependent upon elected officials following “norms” and a non-crazy voting public, isn’t set up to handle them very well.
@Ken: Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) is extremely tough to do in a combat environment. In 2003, a US Patriot battery shot down a US fighter in an environment where there was no opposition air force actually flying and that the opposition air force had, on the ground, jets of very different makes, models and countries of origins than the US.
Russian anti-air crews are likely less trained/exercised than US crews, operating in a complex electronic warfare environment and have both friendly and hostile air forces operating very similar jets. We are also likely able to assume that command and control is a bit iffy at times for the Russian crews so a no-fire corridor notice may not arrive at a SAM battery that sees a SU-25 heading towards a Russian concentration and they’ll engage as it could be Ukranian…
@Old Man Shadow: All of which is why that quote
was so heartbreaking and so true.
I often think the reason my grandfather was able to leave Germany in February 1933 was that he was unmarried and had spent years abroad so he didn’t have a huge household to leave behind. Lots of people knew Hitler was dangerous, but those kinds of attachments kept them where they were until it was harder or even impossible to escape.
Is it that? Or it it that he thinks, “I have all this power at my disposal. I must play with it.” My gut sense is, with a ruthless creep like Putin, it’s not important what you think of yourself, but it’s vital that other people think you’re a genius. That’s what give you true power.
@Villago Delenda Est: We need to figure out how to stop that creep from crawlspacing us on a daily basis.
Every modern military has a whole system in place to make that as hard as possible to do. To some extent, the easiest way to stop obeying is to surrender when given the chance, since it puts you out of reach of the mechanisms in place to enforce compliance.
@Ohio Mom: The level of threat to you personally was not equal to the level of difficulty. I get it and agree. I have thought recently about how one would feel as a Japanese American family in California in the early 40s. That they aren’t literally killing you is not much comfort. And it’s American Democrats who are responsible so who can you turn to for help? Even if you were aware of the threat ahead of time where would you go? That would suck, to put it mildly.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@MisterForkbeard: I think about this too. My father was Canadian so if I was willing to do the considerable paperwork, I could claim dual citizenship and move. But I’m old and don’t want to do it.
Not necesssarily. Not that it’s something TFG wouldn’t lie about, but as my grandfather said when I asked him about it*, if you play enough golf, you’re bound to get a hole in one sometime. So there’s no reason TFG’s moment didn’t finally arrive.
*His house had a bar off the kitchen, and on a bulletin board in the bar, in among a bunch of other clippings in no particular place of honor, were clippings about each of the (two) times he’d gotten a hole in one. I saw the clippings when I was ten or twelve years old, and asked him about them.
So I’m amused mostly by the big deal TFG is making out of his hole-in-one, especially given that he’s probably played even more golf than my grandfather did.
No, it isn’t.
And worse yet we have been told our entire lives that it was designed to be better. And maybe it was, but it has some flaws that make it not quite what it seems we were told. It is after all built by humans and as it seems there is an unreasonable percentage of overly flawed human beings on the planet, and we have our share, how could it not be.
I’ll ask the opposing question, how do you know that any country you move to is any better suited to handle them? Or doesn’t consider you one of them?
I’m not telling you not to move, just that it is possible that any move is a lateral one, or even a negative one. Now if you lived in Ukraine, now is a reasonable time to move, except that you might leave it worse for those who can’t leave.
It’s the old story of the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Yes we have our flaws and yes I’m too old that many/most countries will not allow me to emigrate so here I am. I have to work on making things better here because that’s all I’ve got. I’m not telling you not to go or that it will be no better or worse, you could move to nirvana, it happens. And I wish you the best, it’s an option not all of us have. And I’ve traveled extensively and seen some incredible places that I’d love to move to and met incredible people in those incredible places, but here is where I am and where I have to stay, so I have to work to make it better. I’ve timed out of options, you haven’t. Great luck to you and yours.
Masha Gessen was on Fresh Air last week and had a similar story. Her takeaway was that fear was instilled in journalists because it is cheaper to have them leave than to arrest them. But either way, they were not going to have the opportunity to tell the truth to the Russian people.
Phase 2 sounds ominous. I’m really dreading Phase IV: the Empire Of The Ants.
Who knows? Trump is lazy and stupid. And he wants everyone to love him. Even people he hurts.
@Ruckus: I’ve timed out of options. I did live and work overseas in my 20’s, but that was almost 30 years ago.
Late to the thread, but thank you, AL, for the link to the Politico piece by Michelle Berdy. For me, it is not only a riveting story of escape from Russia, but by happy coincidence brings me up to date on a friend and colleague from years ago. Michelle (Mickey) and I worked at a NY nonprofit that conducted academic exchanges with Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1970s and ’80s. I knew she had moved to Russia but had lost touch. She had–and has–a wonderful sense of humor and sense of the absurd and was–and is–a terrific raconteur…even when the tale to be told is a harrowing one, as here.
Very late to the thread, but as the daughter of a refugee, I always grew up with the sense that we may have to flee. What had been a settled way of life for more than a century (the Tsar even stopped at my great-great-grandfather’s house and gave my great-great grandmother (if I’ve counted my greats right) a ring, as he was surveying his empire) was gone within a few years and they fled what is now Ukraine in the early 1920’s. I figured that nothing was to be counted on. Ever. I suppose meeting a marrying a fairly nomadic man was appealing in the sense that it fit an expectation (we’ve lived in seven states and two countries and are dual citizens now). The pull of family, though? We are where we are because of grandchildren. Never expected to land in Iowa.
OT, but as of today, CVS is allowing scheduling of booster shot #2 immediately. Wondering if you guys have thoughts on which one to get.
Me: Moderna (shot #1), Moderna (shot #2), Moderna (booster #1)
I know there’s research re: booster #1 that it was good to mix it up, but I don’t see research advice yet on regarding booster #2.
Would you get Moderna or Pfizer?
Belatedly, I have to point out that her name is Michele Berdy, not Michelle.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Yes, this. I mean I can really see Trump calling internes at random in his camps begging them to come work for him.
The end of my 20s was over 40 yrs ago. It’s still the same story. And would be if the end of your 20s was ahead of you. Best of luck.
I’ve got a question into the VA on if I should switch to Moderna for my second booster. Haven’t heard back. I’ll let you know soon as I hear.
I found out the hard way today that I never received a notice to renew my driver’s license – when I was asked by my employer to provide a copy of a current driver’s license, I found it had expired on my birthday in February. I’ve been driving on an expired license for over a month! I got it renewed today, so now I’m legal again, but I’ll have to go back after I get the actual hard copy driver’s license to get the Real ID version. Sheesh……
Also, sometimes I hate talking to the English as a second language customer service people. It took me two tries to get the guy from McAfee to understand that we couldn’t have a three-way call with my mother because she died last summer! I found the paperwork from her anti-virus subscription today and saw that it didn’t expire until February 2023. I thought I should call and cancel it, but became sorry I did when it was so hard to communicate with the customer service person. I swear, most companies really don’t care about customer service anymore. And the repeated apologizing doesn’t help, either. Don’t apologize – get it right the first time or fix it, but quit apologizing! I think it’s built into their script or something.
@Ruckus: Great! My appt is Monday morning, maybe you’ll hear by then. thanks
I’m sticking with what I’ve had before: Pfizer. No particular reason though.
Not just Russia. NPR reported about a Bloomberg reporter who was arrested and has totally dropped from sight.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Do they really care enough about him to infringe?
@WaterGirl: Very late reply, but I’m on the opposite spectrum: All Pfizer (3) and I’m going with Moderna for 2nd booster tomorrow. Can’t wait to see how my immune system responds haha. Actually, since I didn’t have any side effects with booster #1 – outside of typical sore injection site – I’m hoping I get a hint that my body recognizes a foreign substance, telling me my body is responding to it.
I have had all Pfizer because that’s what the VA location I use has. I have heard that Moderna is a stronger vaccine but that may be the dosage that they used, which for the 2 main doses was larger. I don’t know the difference in the dosage or the booster doses.
Now for my findings, every thing I’ve found says changing is OK but no one actually recommends it. That’s CVS website, the CDC, the VA. So I’m not going to actually change brands although I can easily get either locally or Pfizer at my VA clinic.
@Roger Moore: My grandfather told us that he and his friends and colleagues, in 1933 when Hitler ascended to power, anticipated that by 1939 it would be dangerous for them still to be in Germany… “and by 1935, we were at the point we had anticipated we’d be in 1939.”
Some of the subsequent delay in leaving was because my grandfather was assisting other folks to leave safely; some may have been the USA’s immigration system (fortunately there was a relative already in the USA, who sponsored them); and the final delay was because my dad and his younger brother caught scarlet fever and were quarantined for 6 weeks.
@WaterGirl: There was a recent article highlighted on Eric Topol’s twitter feed suggesting that the two mRNA vaccines have slightly different effects for unidentified reasons ( it was a population study if memory serves). Based on that the recommendation would be Fizah for you to get the complementary effect.
And of course I went to the next thread and it’s being discussed there and I see you are a part of that.
Also of course now I’m back to eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
@Old Man Shadow: Deeply touching remembrance.
@eclare: i am honestly bitter that my mother guilt tripped me out of moving to Canada when I was 32, healthy and fresh out of law school.
@debbie: Bloomberg reporter who was in Russia?
@watergirl. Seems you have made a decision on a second booster already. For those on the fence there is a short piece on Topol’s twitter today “Should I get a second booster?”.
The This week in Virology folks poo-poo the idea of a second booster as does Paul Offit, who knows a thing or two about vaccines and vaccination.
I have had three shots and have decided that a fourth shot would only yield a marginal and probably short-lived effect, so I am going to sit this out until we see what evolution is going to cough up during summer and fall.
that’s interesting. If I had gotten Pfizer originally I would switch to Moderna in a heartbeat. Because there’s plenty of data that shows that Moderna boosters made a crazy difference in their level of protection. It’s going the other way that has me wondering.
@TKH: Round and round I go!
@WaterGirl: FWIW, we are planning on waiting until fall for our second booster because of the waning effectiveness. Probably will get when we get our flu shot. Of course, ongoing events may change that.
@WaterGirl: Yeah, sounds familiar. You don’t want to get it and then think “if only I had…..”. One of the virologists I follow via his now paused podcast is pushing the idea that in order to get lasting protection from infection, rather than disease, you have to get infected, repeatedly no less, just as for the flue ( and for fully vaccinated people to be sure, 3 doses). I understand intellectually the argument for it, but the chickenshit in me is strongly objecting to actually live what I know is the “reasonable” thing to do.
@TKH: As long as long Covid is a thing, getting infected is risky business, and it can have a lifetime of consequences.
if you are following someone who suggests that people should try to get infected, that that’s the way out of this, I would strongly suggest that you stop following that person.
@japa21: My booster was 5 months ago, so it seems like a good time to get boosted.
Moderna, Moderna, Pfizer, and today, Moderna. I’ve read that the two mRNA vaccines have slightly different modes of action, so mixing-n-matching confers a (small) benefit in broadening immunity.
The last Pfizer booster was so mild it had almost no side effects, unlike the intense Moderna #2. The Moderna booster is half the dose of #1 and #2, so I expect side effects will also be milder. So far just a slightly sore arm. As before, you hardly know you have the shot, before the tech puts the bandage on.
@ColoradoGuy: I am confused by your comment.
The Pfizer boosters are notably mild? That doesn’t sound good.
They care about the more accurate description of the job: human shielding. That is, shielding whichever motherfucker high up the corporate ladder made the stupid-arsed decision whose consequences are driving the customers batshit, from the consequences of their ire.
I tell “customer service” reps this whenever I speak with them – I know it’s not your fault, you’re only here to shield the bosses responsible from the customers’ anger, but if there’s any way you can help, I’d be very grateful.
And BTW, those imbecile “surveys” they always ask you to “stay on the line” for? As surveys they are less than worthless. If you don’t give the rep top grades for everything, they’re useful to the fatcats up top as rationale for denying a raise or continued employment at review time. Period. If you can’t just hang up, give the rep top grades and then in the comment section tell the corp what a bunch of criminals they are and they should fuck off and die.
(I’m a bit hot about this right now. I was in a Walgreens explaining to another customer why we’d been waiting for so long – only 3 on staff at the pharmacy – when the Rx manager started to give me crap about how shortstaffed they were. I replied that it was corporate policy to keep them shortstaffed and overworked and if she chose to defend them she was a sucker. And stalked out – because another customer had given me the answer to the question I’d wanted to ask just previously.)
So far Novavax, Novavax, Pfiser, Pfiser.
As far as the ‘system’ is aware I’ve only had the last 2 ( Novavax was a clinical trial) so officially I’m unboosted. About 5 months since last shot.
Think I’ll go for Moderna, got to fill that Bingo card
@Uncle Cosmo: aka the Customer Avoidance Department.
@different-church-lady: VVP is a Sooper Jenius:
@kalakal: I’m a Novavax trial participant also. I lost patience with their booster timeline, so went with a Moderna boost in late December. Antibody test in late January was off scale.