Trinidad-born musician Nicki Minaj has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this week after she posted a COVID-19 vaccine side effect claim on social media that several health experts have categorically said is false and misleading.
The controversy surrounding her questionable claim stemmed from the 38-year-old taking to Twitter to explain why she was a no-show at the Met Gala. The Supa Bass rapper has over 20 million followers on the social media platform.
“They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met,” she shared. “It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now.”
The musician, born Onika Tanya Maraj, then went ahead to claim in another post that her cousin in Trinidad hadn’t taken the vaccine jab because his friend who got vaccinated suffered “swollen testicles” and became “impotent” afterward.
The musician’s wild claim was immediately met with swift backlash as several people – including health experts – called her out for spreading misinformation. The controversial tweet also forced officials in Trinidad and Tobago to ascertain whether her claim was indeed true. However, in a press conference on Wednesday, the Caribbean nation’s health minister, Dr. Terrence Deyalsingh, said her claim was “false.”
“One of the reasons why we could not respond yesterday in real-time to Miss Minaj is that we had to check and make sure that what she was claiming was either true or false,” Dr. Deyalsingh said. “Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim.”
Dr. Deyalsingh wasn’t the only health expert to debunk the rapper’s claim. The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, also said people spreading such misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccines “should be ashamed,” The Guardian reported.
“There are a number of myths that fly around, some of which are just clearly ridiculous and some of which are clearly designed just to scare,” Professor Whitty added. “That [Nicki Minaj’s claim] happens to be one of them. That is untrue.”
In an interview with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, also advised Nicki Minaj to be wary of peddling such information.
“I’m not blaming her for anything – but she should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis as except a one-off anecdote, and that’s not what science is all about,” Dr. Fauci said.