Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, debunked a claim made by rapper Nicki Minaj that the Covid-19 vaccine can make men impotent.
Fauci dismissed the claim as false when asked about it during an interview Tuesday on CNN.
"There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen," he said. "So the answer to your question is no.”
Fauci went on to talk about the dangers of vaccine misinformation.
"There's 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," he said. "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."
Dr. Anthony Fauci says Covid-19 vaccine approval for children under the age of 12 is "going to be some time in the fall."
"There will be enough data to apply with an emergency use authorization, both by Pfizer, a little bit later by Moderna." pic.twitter.com/Wr1EqnDIUL
The "Starships" rapper made the erroneous statement on Monday in a series of tweets explaining why she skipped this year's Met Gala. In one post, the rapper, who said she tested positive for Covid herself, told fans that she didn't want to put her baby at risk. Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, welcomed their first child together last year.
She went on to say: "They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met. 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."
In a third tweet, the rapper shared a bizarre story about her cousin's friend in Trinidad who got the vaccine "& became impotent."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its most updated information page on vaccinations that there is "currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men."
Minaj's tweets caused a firestorm and garnered strong reactions from numerous leaders and officials.
“I’m not familiar with the works, or as familiar with the works of Nicki Minaj as I probably should be,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, adding that "vaccines are wonderful and everybody should get them."
MSNBC host Joy Reid also criticized the Grammy-winning artist.
“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, my God, sister, you can do better than that," Reid said.
Even the health minister of Trinidad and Tobago felt compelled to debunk the story from Minaj, who was born in Trinidad and claimed the friend of her cousin lived in the island nation.
"We had to expend a lot of time and energy yesterday ... because suppose it was true, we don't want to be accused of just ignoring it. But we spent a lot of time yesterday trying to track it down. So far, it has not proven to be true in Trinidad or ... anywhere else in the world," Terrence Deyalsingh said during a Covid news briefing on Wednesday.
Deyalsingh said Minaj's tweet "did not help" and makes their job harder because the rapper has "some sway."
Despite health officials debunking the claim, a small group of people gathered outside the CDC in Atlanta and screamed, "You know Fauci's lying." One man was heard yelling, "She said I'm not going to take your vaccine to go to some stupid Met Gala. ... You know Fauci's lying."
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.