On Monday, singer Nicki Minaj shared some impotent claims about Covid-19 vaccines and testicles on Twitter. But was her assertion on the ball or did it actually lack hard evidence?
Here is her tweet about her cousin in Trinidad:
Make that her cousin’s friend in Trinidad. As you can see, she indicated that her “cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen.”
She continued with “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.”
First of all, the typical wedding vow is “till death do you part” and not “until your testicles get swollen.” So, you have to wonder about whether that would be have been the best marital union. Being sacked before a wedding in that manner is not the best sign that the marriage may have lasted. Secondly, a tweet like that really needs more follow-up details. After all, should your friend one day say, “then my testicles became swollen,” your next response probably won’t be, “oh, ok. Well, good seeing you. Have a nice day.”
Instead, if you are going to claim to thousands or even millions of people that Covid-19 vaccines can cause impotence and swollen testicles, there really needs to be more accompanying information. For example, what do you mean by impotent and testicles swollen? How was this verified? Testicular swelling is not the same as a big spot on the forehead or something more evident. It’s not common to hear someone say, “well, it was obvious at the party that his testicles were swollen.” Hearing something like that makes you wonder: (a) what kind of party was that and (b) what exactly were you doing at that party?
So ultimately the big question is did a real medical doctor actually diagnose the swelling and impotence and determine that they were in fact due to the Covid-19 vaccine? After all, it can be hard to come to consensus of what lay people may consider impotence. The occasional flop is not the same as a consistent inability to raise the Arizona, or whatever you’ve named your genitalia. Similarly, what people may call testicular or scrotal swelling can range from “I got big balls, and I cannot lie” to something really abnormal.
Plus, even when there is medically diagnosed scrotal swelling, many different things could be the cause. For example, swelling can result when you get kicked in the balls. Granted, you tend to remember when someone’s gone all “football” on you. When your doctor asks, “did you get kicked in the balls,” you don’t tend to answer, “you know, doc, I can’t quite remember. Define ‘kicked in the balls.’ I do remember the risotto and hot dogs for dinner.”
There are other less obvious causes though. These include other types of trauma, various infections, fluid accumulation, hernias, abnormally enlarged veins, and testicular cancer. Just because something happened around the time of vaccination, doesn’t necessarily mean that the Covid-19 vaccine caused it.
Remember hearing a story about someone is not the same as doing research. One partially told story not verified by medical experts does not constitute real scientific evidence. There’s a real vas deferens between the two.
Back in July, I covered for Forbes unsubstantiated claims on social media that Covid-19 vaccines could cause “mass male infertility” and that “all males who have been vaccinated are effectively sterile.” At the same time, I covered how a study that was published as a research letter in JAMA found no difference in sperm concentration, sperm count, sperm motility, and semen volume in men before and after Covid-19 vaccination.
So far, over 178 million people have been fully vaccinated in the U.S. alone. And a good proportion of these people have balls, in the literal and not the figurative sense. Yet, how many official reports have there been of testicular swelling and impotence from the Covid-19 vaccine? An official report is one that had been verified by at least one medical expert, one where there are clear records of that occurring.
Moreover, even if a verified case of testicular swelling were to emerge at some point, keep in mind the relative risk level. One case out of tens of millions would be really, really low odds. Every day you eat, take, and do things that are far more risky. For example, chances are you’ve used the toilet recently. (By the way, if you haven’t, you may want to see a doctor.) Did you know that people have been killed by toilets? Would that make you dump the whole toilet-using thing?
Meanwhile, as I covered for Forbes in May, there has been official impotent medical reports of erectile dysfunction from Covid-19. Yes, there’s been groin evidence that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can go to your testicles. For example, Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S., a Professor of Pathology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center tweeted the following:
So your risk of having testicular problems may be much greater from Covid-19 than from a vaccine that can protect you from Covid-19.
Remember, Minaj is a rapper, singer, and songwriter. She is not a medical doctor or a scientist. If you search PubMed for “Nicki Minaj,” you get back only one publication entitled, “Plastic Surgery and Music: Examining Plastic Surgery References in Hit Songs,” and it was not written by her.
Nevertheless, FOX News host Tucker Carlson decided to feature on his show what Minaj mentioned, her tweet and not the testicles, that is:
It’s one thing to have questions about the Covid-19 vaccine or any other product for that matter. It’s reasonable to want to talk to a real medical doctor about any concerns that you may have or stories you may have heard. However, sharing on social media or otherwise broadcasting an unverified claim about Covid-19 vaccines to millions of followers is a completely different story. It can have real harmful consequences. Say a person avoids getting the vaccine as a result and then ends up dying from Covid-19 when all of this could have been prevented by getting the vaccine.
If your cousin’s friend, your nephew’s teacher’s enemy, your half-sister’s uncle’s chiropractor, or whoever for that matter experienced testicular swelling and impotence after Covid-19 vaccine, tell that person to see a medical doctor and inform the appropriate public health authorities. They can then do the proper medical evaluation and testing to determine what really caused the problem.
A lot of claims out there about the Covid-19 vaccines are, shall we say, a bit nuts. On social media, there’s really a load of, well you get the picture. So, don’t be too hasty about throwing your ball, or someone else’s, into the Twittersphere until you’ve got real scientific evidence backing your claims.