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Nicki Minaj Cover 2
Nicki Minaj wears silk underwear by La Perla; leather coat with knit collar and plastic boots by Miu Miu, taken from the Autumn/Winter 2014 issue of DazedPhotography Jeff Bark, Styling Robbie Spencer

Nicki Minaj is beefing with the UK government over vaccine misinformation

England’s chief medical officer says the rapper ‘should be ashamed’ about her statements on COVID-19 vaccines

In case you were wondering why Nicki Minaj was absent from this year’s Met Gala, the rapper has provided an explanation via Twitter, responding to a fan’s comments about her lack of public appearances during the pandemic.

“I have an infant with no nannies during COVID… Not risking his health to be seen,” Nicki responds, also revealing that she already contracted coronavirus in the run-up to the 2021 VMAs. “I was prepping for vmas,” she explains, “then i shot a video & guess who got COVID? Do u know what it is not to be able to kiss or hold your tiny baby for over a week? A baby who is only used to his mama?” 

Expressing skepticism toward the COVID-19 vaccine, Minaj has also cited the fact that “get vaccinated” Drake was infected with the virus even after he’d been vaccinated, and — bizarrely — that her cousin’s friend “became impotent” and suffered from “swollen testicles” after getting his jab. 

It’s worth noting, here, that there’s no evidence to support claims of “mass male infertility” or impotence due to the vaccine (though the same can’t be said for catching COVID, with at least one small study suggesting that the virus may cause erectile dysfunction).

In fact, Minaj’s claims about the vaccine’s effects have sparked a debate about Twitter’s guidelines on vaccine misinformation (although, according to a spokesperson for the platform, she’s in the clear due to the fact it’s a personal anecdote). It’s also — again, bizarrely — prompted a direct response from the UK government.

Specifically, England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, has accused Minaj of “pedalling untruths” at a Downing Street news conference broadcasted on Tuesday. He says that her story about vaccine-related impotence is one of “a number of myths that fly around, some of which are just clearly ridiculous and some of which are clearly designed just to scare”.

“Many of those people I regret to say will know they are pedalling untruths but they still do it,” Whitty adds. “In my view, they should be ashamed.”

Boris Johnson also comments on the statement at the conference, though he admits that he can’t be counted among the Barbz, saying: “I am not as familiar with the works of Nicki Minaj as I probably should be.”

“I am familiar with Nikki Kanani, a superstar GP of Bexley... who will tell you vaccines are wonderful and everybody should get them,” the prime minister goes on (great segue btw Boris). “That’s why I prefer to listen to Nikki Kanani.”

Nicki Minaj seems to have taken the criticism pretty well, retweeting a clip from the conference with the caption: “I love him even tho I guess this was a diss? The accent ugh! Yassss boo!!!” 

Nevertheless, she still says that she wants to look into the vaccine more before she takes it, tweeting: “If I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met (sic). It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe.”

Listen to Nicki Minaj’s message for Boris Johnson below.