The hip-hop entertainer tweeted Monday that she planned to get a coronavirus shot once she does more research, but then shared an anecdote supposedly from a cousin in Trinidad who claimed that his friend’s testicles had become swollen after getting the vaccine.
Although many Twitter users chimed in to dispute Minaj’s ballsy ― and false ― claim, Tapper decided to get Fauci’s take on it. But he also felt obliged to explain why he was asking the doctor a question that he knew was ridiculous.
“I wouldn’t normally even ask you about this, but Nicki Minaj has nearly 180 million followers on Twitter and Instagram combined,” Tapper noted, and added that vaccine opponents had used her questionable tweet as “some sort of evidence.”
Tapper then asked Fauci if there was any evidence that the vaccines caused reproductive problems.
“The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no,” Fauci said. There’s 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.”
"The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no" -- asked about Nicki Minaj's tweet regarding her cousin's friend's balls, Dr. Fauci says there's no evidence the Covid vaccines cause reproductive issues pic.twitter.com/2wuqy14fDi
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 14, 2021
Fauci then pointed out how difficult it is for officials to counter misinformation and disinformation like Minaj’s while trying not to attack her.
“These claims 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 except a one-off anecdote,” he said. “That’s not what science is all about.”
So far, Minaj hasn’t commented on Fauci’s comments, but, according to Mediaite, she has gotten in Twitter wars with, among others, MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Meghan McCain and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.