Music artist Nicki Minaj has been drawing a lot of attention on Twitter the past few days as a result of her comments related to vaccines. If anything, she attracted the ire of people on Twitterverse for hinting at her hesitation to get vaccinated.
On September 14, 2021, she tweeted, “They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. If I get vaccinated, it won’t be for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime, my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with two strings that grip your head and face. Not that loose one.” This single tweet invited numerous comments, some of which were laced with sarcasm and discontent.
On the same day, she made another claim that shocked health authorities all the way in her home country in Trinidad and Tobago. She tweeted, “My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married; now, the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it and make sure you’re comfortable with your decision, not bullied.”
Trinidad and Tobago health minister Terrence Deyalsingh said officials “take all claims seriously.” The misinformation Minaj posted on Twitter triggered an international backlash amidst a worldwide effort to give every citizen of the world access to safe vaccines to fight COVID-19. Senior health officials from the U.S. and Great Britain condemned the music artist’s claim as it is not backed by scientific data. If anything, the tweet created unnecessary confusion and fear among her fans who have yet to get vaccinated.
“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad…and none that we know of anywhere in the world,” Deyalsingh said in a press conference last Wednesday.
Her “swollen testicles” tweet became even more pronounced when England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, caught wind of her claim. Professor Whitty confidently said that Minaj “should be ashamed” when he was asked about the misinformation.
“There are a number of myths that fly around,” Professor Whitty added. “Some of which are just clearly ridiculous and some of which are clearly designed just to scare. That happens to be one of them. That is untrue.”
The U.K. health secretary Sajid Javid was also asked to comment on Nicki Minaj and the swollen testicles tweet. “When it comes to something as lifesaving as vaccines—in this country, there are 112,000 fewer deaths we estimate because of our vaccine program—they should be really careful about what they say and not spread untruths,” he shared with BBC Breakfast.
“People that are in the public eye, whether they are a celebrity or a politician or whoever they are, should be very careful with their language and certainly shouldn’t be spreading untruths,” he said to Sky News.
Health authorities and other government leaders have been on constant watch to counter any misinformation spreading online about COVID-19 vaccines since the beginning of the pandemic last year. Apparently, there have been a lot of unfounded conspiracy theories and baseless claims from several online sites, social media users, and even influential people. Getting the right kind of information out there is a current priority to help people make informed decisions when it comes to getting the protection they need against COVID-19.