Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top epidemiologist, is not buying Nicki Minaj’s claims that the vaccine caused reproductive issues like “swollen” balls, something the rapper alleged happened to someone her cousin knows.

Minaj, who revealed she is unvaccinated when explaining why she was not attending Monday’s Met Gala, shared a dubious story on Twitter about a friend of her cousin who lives in Trinidad and the, erm, unsettling side effects — impotence and swollen balls — he may have experienced as a result of getting vaccinated.

Appearing on CNN with Jake Tapper, Fauci said there is no scientific evidence to back up Minaj’s claims and cautioned her to “think twice” before sharing anecdotal information about vaccine side effects.

Tapper asked Fauci: “Speaking of trusted messengers, pop star, Nicki Minaj tweeted yesterday that she’s not vaccinated, she’s doing her own research, and then she shared an anecdote I found rather unbelievable, to be honest, about alleged side effects that her cousin’s friend supposedly experienced in Trinidad. I wouldn’t normally even ask you about this, but Nicki Minaj has nearly 180 million followers on Twitter and Instagram combined… Her tweet was seized upon by vaccine opponents as some sort of evidence. I want you to address what she said… Is there any evidence that the Pfizer, the Moderna, or the J&J vaccines cause any reproductive issues in men or women?”

Fauci didn’t equivocate in his response. “The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no,” he said. “There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen. So the answer to your question is no.”

Tapper followed up with a question about how health authorities can begin to debunk and combat misinformation when the source is an A-list star like Minaj.

“It’s very difficult,” Fauci said. “There is a lot of misinformation, mostly on social media, and the only way we know to counter mis- and disinformation is to provide a lot of correct information and to essentially debunk these kinds of claims, which may be innocent on her part. 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.”

While there isn’t scientific evidence that the vaccine can cause the issues Minaj mentioned, there is some evidence that Covid-19 can cause reproductive issues, according to Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, an associate professor of urology at the University of Miami, who has led studies that investigate Covid’s effect on the male reproductive system.

“Contrary to myths circulating on social media, Covid-19 vaccines do not cause erectile dysfunction and male infertility,” Ramasamy wrote in an op-ed in The Conversation. “What is true: SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, poses a risk for both disorders.”

Lifestyle

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