Rap artist Nicki Minaj faces backlash after tweeting inaccurate information about Covid vaccines

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Nicki Minaj arrives at the 2019 Met Gala Celebration Camp: Notes on Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019 in New York City.

Gilbert Carrasquillo | GC Images | Getty Images

Nicki Minaj faced a public backlash on Tuesday after tweeting the day before that a friend of her cousin’s had developed swollen testicles and impotence after being vaccinated against Covid-19.

In a series of tweets on Monday, the ten-time Grammy-nominated rap artist told fans that she would only be immune once she did enough research and recommended that they wear masks and watch themselves. get vaccinated if they have to for work. Minaj skipped this year’s Met Gala, which enforced a vaccination mandate, saying she avoids public events, in general, because she has a new baby at home.

Minaj said she was shooting a video and preparing for the Video Music Awards, which aired on Sunday, when she caught Covid earlier this year and had to quarantine herself away from her baby for a week.

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Most people, however, took to her comments about her cousin’s friend, which many criticized as spreading false information.

MSNBC national correspondent Joy Ann Reid slammed Minaj: “You have 22 million followers on Twitter. For you to use your platform to encourage our community not to protect themselves and to save their lives, by God. my sister, you can do better than that. ”

Minaj lashed out at Reid on Twitter, sharing the news clip and using a racial slur to insult Reid, who is also black.

Doctors were quick to point out that the side effects of the injection were not known to Minaj’s relative’s friend.

“We’re all human and we tend to associate things,” Dr. Arturo Casadevall, president of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told TBEN. He noted that swollen testicles and impotence are not side effects of the vaccine. “So often things that are unrelated are associated, and with that person, that association is very strong. But that’s why we have science.”

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Casadevall said the symptoms experienced by Minaj’s cousin’s friend were “almost certainly” unrelated to the vaccines, and the timing was just a coincidence.

Minaj skipped the Met Gala in New York on Monday night, which imposed a vaccine requirement for guests. She responded to a fan who noted that Minaj had not made a public appearance for over a year, saying she avoided travel to protect her baby’s health.

In a subsequent tweet, Minaj said she was “sure” that she would eventually get the vaccine to go on tour. Attempts to reach Minaj’s representatives failed.

Reluctance to vaccination is common nationwide, according to a recent TBEN / Change Research poll, and it’s a major obstacle to achieving the collective immunity that experts believe is necessary to curb future outbreaks of Covid in the USA. about vaccine side effects, while another 34% said their suspicion of the federal government made them reluctant to vaccinate.

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Demystifying misinformation through conversations with vaccine-hesitant is essential for building public confidence, Casadevall said.

“These vaccines are extremely safe,” Casadevall said, noting that the risks of side effects from the vaccines are significantly lower than the health risks posed by the virus. “Covid, on the other hand, is deadly, unpredictable. “

And for anyone like Minaj looking for more research on available vaccines before making an appointment to get the shot, Casadevall suggested turning to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration for advice.

“I don’t think doing research on the Internet, or reading posts on Twitter or anything like that, is research,” Casadevall said. “Research means you have a systematic way of looking at the problem.”

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