It’s definitely a sign of the times when the nation’s top infectious disease expert is forced to debunk a rap superstar’s outlandish claim that life-saving vaccines are causing men’s balls to swell up.
Nicki Minaj’s recent claims about a vaccine’s side effects on her cousin’s friend already brought her into conflict with conservative English pundit Piers Morgan and now, they’ve got her at odds with no less an authority than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US authority on the COVID-19 virus and the government’s response strategy.
During a recent appearance on CNN covering Nicki’s tweet that she’s not vaccinated because she doesn’t trust any of the available vaccines, Fauci said that her anecdote about a friend who experienced some “sexual discomfort” after receiving a vaccine seems less than likely. As host Jake Tapper ticked off Nicki’s bonafides — nearly 180 million combined followers across social media platforms and an intensely loyal (and susceptible) fanbase — he pointed out how vaccinations opponents have already weaponized Nicki’s tweet.
"The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no" — asked about Nicki Minaj's tweet regarding her cousin's friend's balls, Dr. Fauci says there's no evidence the Covid vaccines cause reproductive issues pic.twitter.com/2wuqy14fDi
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 14, 2021
“Is there any evidence that the Pfizer, Moderna, or the [Johnson & Johnson] vaccines cause any reproductive issues, in men or women?” he asked. Fauci didn’t hesitate. “The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no,” he asserted. “There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen.” Then, in response to Tapper’s follow-up wondering how authorities can combat misinformation from powerful stars such as Nicki Minaj, Fauci replied, “It’s very difficult. There is a lot of misinformation, mostly on social media. The only way we know to counter mis- and disinformation is to provide a lot of correct information… These claims may be innocent on her part — I’m not blaming her for anything — but she should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis except a one-off anecdote. That’s not what science is all about.”
We all just want COVID to go away.