White House Offers Nicki Minaj a Call to Discuss Her COVID-19 Vaccine Concerns, Official Says
By Li Cohen, CBS News
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The White House has offered Nicki Minaj a call with a doctor, according to an official, after she expressed concerns this week about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The rapper tweeted on Monday that she wants to do more research before getting vaccinated and claimed that a friend of her cousin's had experienced adverse effects from it, which health officials have refuted.
"My cousin in Trinidad won't get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen," Minaj tweeted Monday. "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."
Minaj's tweet immediately sparked global backlash, with several health professionals commenting on her post that the vaccine does not cause testicles to swell. Dr. Anthony Fauci also responded to her claims, telling CNN on Tuesday that the COVID vaccine cannot cause reproductive issues.
Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said at a press conference on Wednesday that officials have "wasted so much time" checking Minaj's claim about her cousin's friend.
"What was sad about this is that it wasted our time yesterday, trying to track down, because we take all these claims seriously," Deyalsingh said. "...As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad, or I dare say...none that we know of anywhere else in the world."
The White House has invited Minaj to have a conversation about her hesitancy about getting the vaccine. But that, too, has become a controversial subset of Minaj's claims. Minaj said she was invited to the White House and that "I'm going," while a White House official said she was "offered a call."
"As we have with others, we offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she has about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine," the official told CBS News.
In a video posted to her Instagram on Wednesday night, Minaj insisted she was invited to visit in person, saying, "do ya'll think that I would go on the internet and lie about being invited to the f****** White House?"
#BREAKING - Trinidad & Tobago Health Minister Dr. Terrence Deyalsingh responds to swollen testicle claim made by Trinidad-born entertainer @NICKIMINAJ; says there is no such reported case in Trinidad & Tobago (TTT) pic.twitter.com/NNsc9EUTKP
Minaj said her publicist and manager was on the phone call when she spoke with someone from the White House, and that an official had specifically requested she "come to the White House" to speak with Dr. Fauci and the U.S. Surgeon General. Minaj said she told the White House she would rather not travel and asked them to do a "live," which she says they were willing to do on a public platform.
The White House has not confirmed this information to CBS News.
Minaj also addressed those who are "jumping at the chance" to "attack her personally."
"It's disgusting that a person can't speak about just questions or thoughts they're having about something they're going to have to put in their body, that this attack is this hateful and purposeful," she said. "...If I want to ask questions about the vaccine, what's wrong?"
This story was originally published by CBS News on Sept. 16, 2021 at 7:54 a.m. ET.