Days after rapper Nicki Minaj tweeted that the COVID-19 vaccine caused a family friend to develop swollen testicles, a University of Miami doctor and the health minister of Trinidad and Tobago are debunking the claim.
Minaj tweeted Monday that her cousin in Trinidad refused to get the vaccine because his friend “became impotent” and his "testicles became swollen" after getting inoculated.
But Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, associate professor of urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, says there is no evidence that vaccines cause erectile dysfunction or fertility issues. Other experts attest that whatever Minaj's cousin was suffering from weren’t known side effects of the COVID-19 shots.
Ramasamy and his team conducted a clinical trial that shows the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are safe for male reproduction. Results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Ramasamy said that while vaccines pose no threat to fertility, COVID-19 itself is a different story.
“We have done studies here at the University of Miami showing that the Covid vaccine is safe for men, for fertility, for erectile function, and don't get swollen testicles,” Ramasamy said. “In fact, the opposite is true. Covid can cause swollen testicles, arthritis, and all kinds of erectile dysfunction and infertility.”
Trinidad and Tobago Health Minister Dr. Terrence Deyalsingh also responded to the claim Wednesday morning, saying in part: "As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad. Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim."
Minaj has faced public backlash for expressing reluctance in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The 10-time Grammy award-winning artist recently avoided attending the Met gala, saying: "If I get vaccinated it won't be for the Met. It'll be once I feel I've done enough research. I'm working on that now."
Critics were quick to point out that Minaj shouldn't be using her platform to potentially dissuade others from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it contributes to vaccine hesitancy.
“You have 22 million followers on Twitter. For you to use your platform to encourage our community to not protect themselves and save their lives, by God sister, you can do better than that,” said MSNBC host Joy Reid.
Minaj noted that she has largely avoided public gatherings and travel in order to protect the health of her infant son.
Minaj added she was “sure” she’d get vaccinated eventually in order to go on tour, according to CNBC. The network's attempts to reach Minaj’s representatives were unsuccessful.