Rapper Nicki Minaj has been making headlines recently after posting a number of tweets about the Covid-19 virus and the vaccine, including an unusual anecdote about a friend of her cousin in Trinidad and his “swollen testicles”.
This is everything you need to know.
What did Nicki Minaj say?
On 13 September, Minaj responded to a user on Twitter who said that her last public appearance was over a heart ago, with a broken heart emoji.
She wrote: “I have an infant with no nannies during COVID. Who mad? Not risking his health to be seen. One yaself.”
This started a conversation about Covid-19 and vaccines on her Twitter account.
She followed up with another tweet which read: “I was prepping for vmas then I shot a video & guess who got COVID? Do u know what it is not to be able to kiss or hold your tiny baby for over a week? A baby who is only used to his mama? “Get vaccinated” Drake had just told me he got covid w/ THE VACCINE tho so chile.”
A fan replied explaining that the vaccine doesn’t prevent you from getting Covid entirely, but for the most part it does prevent you from getting serious symptoms.
Minaj replied: “Babe. That’s not true. I had the exact same symptoms as ppl with the damn vaccine.”
She followed up with another tweet: “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 2 strings that grips your face & head. Not that loose one.”
Later Minaj tweeted: “My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cus his friend got it & became impotent. His testicales became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.”
She also wrote: “A lot of countries won’t let ppl work w/o the vaccine. I’d def recommend they get the vaccine. They have to feed their families. I’m sure I’ll b vaccinated as well cuz I have to go on tour, etc.”
Does the vaccine cause swollen testicles?
Speaking to Slate, Dr. Aaron Spitz, a prominent urologist and the author of The Penis Book: A Doctor’s Complete Guide to the Penis, said that “there is no evidence of the vaccine causing any impairment to testosterone production or causing any inflammation or pain in the testicles or causing erectile dysfunction”.
He explained that the vaccine “will not cause inflammation and swelling and pain of the testicles” because “the Covid vaccine is not causing an infection in your body”.
He said: “The COVID vaccine is stimulating your antibodies against the COVID virus shell, but it is not stimulating your antibodies against your testicle tissue.
“It’s not mounting an immune response that then wants to attack the cells of the testicle.”
There are a number of potential side effects caused by the Covid-19 vaccine - the NHS lists feeling tired, being achy and headaches as common side effects for example - however there are no documented cases of any Covid vaccine causing swollen testicles.
Amesh Adalja, MD, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Health: “There is zero evidence that the Covid-19 vaccine causes impotence or swollen testicles.”
What did Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty say about her tweets?
During a Downing Street press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticised the rapper for her tweets about Covid-19 and the vaccine.
He said: “I’m not as familiar with the works of Nicki Minaj as I probably should be, but I’m familiar with Nikki Kanani, superstar GP of Bexley who has appeared many times before you, who will tell you that vaccines are wonderful and everybody should get them.
“So I prefer to listen to Nikki Kanani.”
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty also dismissed Minaj’s claims.
He told the press conference: “There are a great number of myths that fly around, some of which are just clearly ridiculous and some of which are clearly designed just to scare.
“This happens to be one of them.”
Whitty added that people who knowingly share misinformation about the vaccine should be “ashamed” of themselves.
How did Nicki Minaj respond?
On 14 September, Minaj tweeted an audio clip on Twitter, and wrote: “Send this to the prime minister & let him know they lied on me. I forgive him. No one else. Only him.”
In the clip, Minaj is putting on an English accent, and says: “Yes, hello Prime Minister Boris, it’s Nicki Minaj.
“I was just calling to tell you that I thought you were so amazing on the news this morning and I’m actually British.
“I was born there, I went to university there, I went to Oxford. I went to school with Margaret Thatcher and she told me so many nice things about you.
“I’d love to send you my portfolio of my work, since you don’t know much about me. I’m a big, big star in the United States.”
Piers Morgan tweeted: “Professor Whitty beefing with the ghastly @NICKIMINAJ (one of the rudest little madams I’ve ever met) is not the breaking news that I expected today - but it’s most welcome. She’s peddling lies that will cost lives.”
Minaj responded by writing: “Sir I’ve never met you. I know… we all look alike. “Rudest little madam”. I like it. Has a special ring to it. Thanks Pierce. Love the accent. I’d love to come chat. Scones. Tea. Clown nose & big red shoes for you. Lmk babe.”
Morgan claimed that the two had met on America’s Got Talent when she appeared as a guest act, and alleged that she refused to say hello to his three young sons.
Minaj replied: “Stop fkng lying. I never turn down pics with kids. If a middle person told you that, they were out of line. Don’t blame me you stupid piece of s**t.”
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