Nicki Minaj’s misinformed COVID vaccine tweet receives heat

Yikes. Nicki Minaj shares misleading information that the COVID-19 vaccines affect male fertility, but research has found the opposite.

Misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines is continuing to influence public health, despite the release of research proving the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing serious illness from the disease.

One of the biggest myths about the vaccine is its effect on fertility, in both males and females.

COVID-19 Vaccination misinformation
Image: Getty

The myth came about in May when research from the University of Miami was misrepresented to claim that the vaccines affected sperm production.

However, the researchers had been looking at the effects of COVID-19, not its vaccines.

We found that there were no negative impacts of the vaccine on male fertility,” said a researcher on the study, Dr Daniel Nassau, to PolitiFact.

According to Dr Nassau, data has suggested that a COVID-19 infection itself may be a risk factor for male infertility, and it has been found to cause orchitis in up to 22% of men.

Image: Guardian

Orchitis is an inflammation of one or both testicles, something rapper Nicki Minaj said her cousin’s friend got after receiving the vaccine, sending Twitter into a frenzy about its effects.

My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent,” Minaj told her 22.6 million followers on Twitter.

His testicles 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.”

In response to the rapper’s claim, Dr Nassau said he was “certain” that “what she is describing is not related to a COVID-19 vaccine“.

Even NSW Health had something to say:

One user noted that a more likely cause of Minaj’s area of concern was chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Probably your cousin’s friend was taking one last marriage fling, picked up an STD, & is blaming vaccines,” the user wrote.

In March, Twitter announced it would begin applying warning labels to tweets that may contain disinformation relating to COVID-19.

In its COVID-19 misleading information policy, the company says it will “label or remove” false or misleading claims about the “adverse impacts or effects of receiving vaccinations, where these claims have been widely debunked“.

Minaj’s tweet was re-shared alongside anti-vaccine messages by US Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, demonstrating the risks of leaving misleading content on social platforms.

While the tweet sparked criticism over fears it could discourage people from getting vaccinated, Minaj also tweeted in favour of the jab.

I’d definitely recommend they get the vaccine,” she said, adding that she would likely get it to go on tour.