The White House on Thursday confirmed that it had contacted Nicki Minaj after the Grammy-nominated rapper posted misinformation about coronavirus vaccines, but said it did not extend her an invitation to visit the White House.
"We offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer any questions she had about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
Psaki said the offer was made by a White House staffer to Minaj's staff, and that the call had yet to occur.
“This is pretty standard and something we do all the time,” Psaki said. “It was simply an offer to have a conversation.”
She added: “Our hope is that anybody who has a big platform is going to project accurate information about the vaccine.”
Minaj said Wednesday that she had been invited to the White House and indicated that she was going.
In a series of tweets earlier this week, she said she would not be in attendance at the Met Gala, which was held on Monday in New York City, because event organizers were requiring that attendees show proof of vaccination.
“They want you to get vaccinated for the Met,” the rapper tweeted. “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.”
She then shared an anecdote about alleged vaccine side effects experienced by a friend of her cousin's in Trinidad and Tobago.
“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent,” Minaj tweeted. “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.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.
Minaj’s tweet prompted health officials from the United States, the U.K. and Trinidad to debunk the swollen-testicle claim.
“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad,” Trinidad and Tobago Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said Wednesday morning. “Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim.”
“There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden and the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said on CNN.
“There’s a lot of misinformation, mostly on social media,” Fauci continued. “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,” he added. “But she should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis.”
Read more from Yahoo News