Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pushed back against a coronavirus vaccine conspiracy theory shared by Nicki Minaj – insisting there is no evidence that it causes infertility after the pop star tweeted about her cousin’s hesitancy to get vaccinated and sparked a social media controversy.
Minaj tweeted on Monday night that her cousin in Trinidad, where the singer and rapper is from, “won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen.”
Fauci, in response to a question Tuesday from CNN’s Jake Tapper about Minaj’s claim, said “the answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no.” “There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen. So the answer to your question is no.” Other medical experts have long said that claims about infertility linked to vaccinations are unsubstantiated.
Trinidad & Tobago Health Minister Dr. Terrence Deyalsingh weighed in Wednesday to confirm the falsity of Minaj’s claim and lament the time his agency spent Tuesday verifying that what she said was untrue.
“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad or … none that we know of anywhere else in the world,” he told reporters.
The Minaj saga extended all the way to Britain, forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to say he is “not as familiar with the works of Nicki Minaj as I probably should be” and to urge people to get immunized against the coronavirus, highlighting the ongoing struggles against coronavirus misinformation.
British Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty called Minaj’s claim a “myth” and said that those spreading untruths about coronavirus vaccines “should be ashamed.”
Fauci said: “She should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis except a one-off anecdote, and that’s not what science is all about.”
In response to Johnson, Minaj later posted an audio message on social media, claiming in an accent that she is “actually British” and offered to send him a portfolio of her work.