The internet has provided people with sources of information and news and platforms to express their opinions on various subject matters. The social media site Twitter has been one of the most successful platforms online to carry both, and on Tuesday, award-winning artist Nicki Minaj sent the Twitterverse into an uproar following her tweets regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
With many celebrities and figures using the platform to encourage others to get vaccinated, Nicki Minaj made a U-turn, expressing her hesitancy on Twitter after going through her own research. The results yielded some snarky replies after tweeting:
“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got & became impotent. 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.”
The tweet came after Minaj attracted media attention with her announcement to skip the 2021 Met Gala due to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. “They want you to get vaccinated for the Met,” she tweeted earlier, “If I get vaccinated, it won’t 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 head & face. Not that loose one” After interacting with her fans, Minaj sent out the viral tweet that users mocked.
Twitter users quickly debunked the research, saying how the side effects were most likely from STD rather than the vaccines. Writer and comedian Crissle West also chimed in, telling her, “Your cousin’s friend prolly just picked up an STD but please keep going.”
Film director James Gunn joined the fray, poking fun at her and saying, “My friend in Chicago had eggs for breakfast and then got in a car accident on the way to work, so don’t eat eggs because they cause car accidents.”
While many were skeptical about the correlation between the vaccine and the symptoms Minaj’s cousin’s friend suffered, there have been a handful of people who have taken her story to heart, further adding doubt to their decision to get vaccinated.
The viral tweets eventually reached the United States’ leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was quick to dismiss her claims. “There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen,” he said, “So the answer to your question is no.”
“There’s 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,” said Dr. Fauci, “And to essentially debunk these kinds of claims, which may be innocent on her part. I’m not blaming her for anything but she should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis.”
Recently, the “Starships” artist has claimed that she was put in “Twitter jail” after her barrage of tweets. Nicki Minaj later went live on the platform to clarify herself. “Look at what they just did. I will never use Twitter again,” she said, “First of all, I didn’t give any facts about any vaccine. I didn’t give facts about anything.” However, a spokesperson for Twitter debunked the incident. “Twitter did not take any enforcement action in the account.”
While vaccine misinformation can be dangerous, Twitter has proven that there is always a funny side to certain claims.