There’s no way Dr. Anthony Fauci’s medical-school professors prepared him for this one. On Tuesday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, about.
You likely know the one. On Monday, the singer tweeted about the Met Gala’s requirement that attendeesagainst COVID to attend. Then she shared a truly strange personal anecdote that instantly went viral, for obvious reasons.
“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent,” Minaj tweeted. “His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding.”
What even is going on in that story? Some reporter in Trinidad is probably calling around to wedding venues right now, trying to find the supposed canceled nuptials and track down the poor sad swollen friend-of-a-cousin.
But whether or not Minaj’s cousin’s friend really told this story, he didn’t develop impotence from receiving the coronavirus vaccine, Fauci told Tapper. The vaccines don’t cause impotence, though getting the coronavirus can.
Tapper kind of squirmed around actually asking the question, calling Minaj’s story “unbelievable” and mentioning “alleged side effects.”
But since Minaj has nearly 180 million followers on Twitter and Instagram combined, Tapper said he felt he had to ask Fauci to comment on whether the vaccines cause “any reproductive issues” in recipients.
“The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding ‘No,'” Fauci said.
The doctor went on to say it’s “very difficult” to combat misinformation, especially coming from celebrities who can reach millions of people in seconds, and are often beloved and trusted by many.
The comments “may be innocent on [Minaj’s] part,” Fauci said. “I’m not, you know, blaming her for anything, but she should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis, except as a one-off anecdote, and that’s not what science is all about.”
Less than a full day after Minaj’s tweet, it had been retweeted and quote-tweeted more than 100,000 times and earned over 117,000 likes. Many Twitter users mocked Minaj’s cousin’s story, but others said the singer was being misunderstood.
Minaj herself has been tweeting steadily since the infamous tweet.
One tweet she sent on Tuesday read, “Omfg. My #cousin who has #TheFriend just texted me telling me to call him. *Bites Nails* Ugh! You idiots!!! If he saw this on the news it’s all your fault!!! It was supposed to be a secret. If either of them ask, u ain’t heard it from me. Okay? stares @ text.”