Nicki Minaj’s tweet shares unsubstantiated allegations about vaccine effects

Nicki Minaj tweeted an unverified story about a cousin’s friend in Trinidad, saying the unidentified man “became impotent” and “his testicles swelled” after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Claim: COVID-19 vaccines cause impotence and swollen testicles.

APP Rating: Wrong. Experts say there is no scientific support for the claim that coronavirus vaccines lead to these side effects.

THE FACTS: There is no evidence from available research to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines cause erectile dysfunction, testicular swelling or male infertility.

The unfounded claims received a lot of attention on Monday Rapper Nicki Minaj tweeted for her more than 22.6 million followers an unverified story about a cousin’s friend in Trinidad. Minaj claimed that the unidentified man “became impotent” and “his testicles swelled” after he was shot.

The specifics of the claim are not clear. A representative for Minaj did not return requests for further information. But experts say there is no data to support the idea that vaccines cause erectile dysfunction or swollen testicles.

“We’ve never seen that,” said Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at the University of Miami Health System.

Orchitis, a condition that leads to swollen testicles, can be followed by a bacterial infection as well as a sexually transmitted infection. Ramasamy said that while orchitis and erectile dysfunction are not linked to coronavirus vaccines, there is some evidence that they may be linked to a COVID-19 infection.

Dr. Ashley Winter, a urologist specializing in sexual dysfunction at Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Oregon, agreed that there was no indication that the vaccine adversely affected male sexual function or the testicles in general.

“At the population level, hundreds of millions of men have received this vaccine and there is no study showing reduced erectile function in men who have been vaccinated,” she said. “Basically, we just don’t have a study linking vaccination to either swollen testicles or erectile dysfunction.”

In addition, experts say there is no established link between COVID-19 vaccines and male infertility or lower sperm counts.

Ramasamy was the senior author of a June study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found no significant decrease in the sperm count of 45 healthy, vaccinated men. The men were evaluated before receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and 70 days after receiving their second dose.

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