Nicki Minaj stirs up worldwide vaccine controversy


Eva Rinaldi

Arts & Life Editor Kaitlin Ryan and World News Editor Patrick Kane collaborate on the controversial story surrounding Nicki Minaj’s claims on the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

Kaitlin Ryan and Patrick Kane

Rap superstar Nicki Minaj came under heat following the 2021 MET Gala after sharing controversial opinions about the event’s vaccine mandate. Her otherwise loyal fanbase, known as the “Barbz,” were surprised to learn that Minaj refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

On Sept. 13, Minaj caused a heated debate after tweeting, “They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if [sic] 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” 

Minaj went on to note that her cousin’s friend had swollen testicles after getting the vaccine. The comments sent Twitter users and her fans alike into a fury over her anti-vax remarks and extravagant claims. 

Among the abundance of memes, Twitter user @judithrose91 defended Minaj from the hate writing, “Nicki Minaj asked questions about the vaccine and now she’s a far-right QAnon supporter? Not how it works, media, try again.” 

Minaj did attempt to learn more about the vaccine by taking to a Twitter poll and asking her followers which vaccine they prefer: Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or other. 

Minaj’s apprehension on the vaccine caught the attention of more people than just Twitter users, however. According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, the Biden administration offered Minaj a phone call in which they could clear up any and all confusion over the vaccine, though there is no confirmation that anything ever came from this. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s lead infectious disease expert, argued that none of the symptoms described by Minaj would ever happen because of a vaccine.

In addition, Minaj also faced backlash from her home country of Trinidad and Tobago. The country’s health minister agreed with Fauci in that the symptoms described by Minaj were in no way connected with the vaccine. Trinidadian television critiqued her claims as well.

However, as a backlash against her claims grew, Minaj became defensive. According to Mercury News, she leaked personal information of two journalists criticizing her. She later endorsed FOX News host Tucker Carlson’s coverage of her remarks, which then led to a brief feud with Twitch streamer Hasan Piker. Finally, Nicki alleged she was now in “Twitter jail”, an allegation Twitter has vehemently denied. As of the time of this writing, Minaj has not made any further public statements.

Ashley Wain, professor of biology at John Carroll, commented, “From what I know, the side effects [described by Minaj] were not from the vaccine.” She added, “Just in general the vaccine appears to be safe. It has gone through testing, and the Pfizer vaccine has also been approved. I would assume that the side effects are not from the vaccine, but from something else.”