Dr. Anthony Fauci debunked an anecdote shared by rapper Nicki Minaj about a friend of a relative having issues with impotence after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, saying there is no evidence that the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines can cause reproductive issues.
The leader of the White House coronavirus effort spoke with Jake Tapper on CNN Tuesday night after Minaj tweeted on Monday that she would not be attending the Met Gala due to a vaccination requirement and then claimed she heard from a cousin who declined to be vaccinated "cuz his friend got it & became impotent."
"The answer to that is a resounding no," Fauci said about that claim. "There is 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."
Minaj has nearly 180 million followers combined on Instagram and Twitter, so her message was widely disseminated.
"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 blaming her for anything — but she should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis as except a one-off anecdote, and that's not what science is all about."
Minaj wrote that she still may get vaccinated.
"If I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met," Minaj tweeted. "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."
Minaj received some backlash for her claims from followers noting that the safety of the vaccines is already extremely well researched.
She noted that a lot of countries won't let people work without being vaccinated and that she will most likely get it because it will be necessary for her to work. She later asked her followers to recommend which of the major vaccines she should get.
"I’m sure I’ll b vaccinated as well cuz I have to go on tour, etc.," she added.
Fauci added in the interview that he expects vaccinations for children under 12 to be approved "some time during the fall" pending FDA review and that right now, he believes people will need a third shot as a booster.