Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty in spat with rapper Nicki Minaj over ‘ridiculous’ Covid myth

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The rapper claimed the vaccine had rendered her cousin’s friend ‘impotent’

Nicki Minaj shares voice note mocking Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty were involved in a bizarre war of words with the rapper Nicki Minaj on Tuesday after she claimed that her cousin’s friend was rendered “impotent” after having the Covid-19 vaccine.

Minaj, 38, made the baseless claim to her 22 million followers on Twitter – drawing criticism from the prime minister and England’s chief medical officer.

The episode began when Minaj said she would not be attending Monday’s Met Gala in New York, which required attendants to be double-jabbed. Revealing she had not yet been vaccinated, Minaj stressed that “if I get vaccinated it won’t [be] for the Met”.

She added: “My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cause his friend got it and became impotent. His testicles became swollen.”

Impotence is not listed as a potential side-effect on the NHS website and there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine causes fertility problems.

Asked about Minaj making the claim to her huge online following – she has 22.5 million followers on Twitter alone – during a Covid-19 press conference at Downing Street, Prof Whitty said that anyone spreading falsehoods about the vaccine “should be ashamed”.

“There are a number of myths that fly around ... some of which are just clearly ridiculous and some of which are clearly designed just to scare,” he said. “That happens to be one of them. That is untrue.”

The prime minister also responded to the comments and said he would rather listen to Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s medical director of primary care, who “will tell you vaccines are wonderful and everyone should get them”.

Moments after the press conference, Minaj responded to Mr Johnson by tweeting: “I love him even tho I guess this was a diss? The accent ugh! Yassss boo!!!”

She later recorded an audio message for the prime minister. Feigning an English accent, she said: “Hello prime minister, Boris, it’s Nicki Minaj – I was just calling to tell you that you were so amazing on the news this morning. And I’m actually British. I was born there. I went to university there. I went to Oxford.

“I went to school with Margaret Thatcher. And she told me so many nice things about you.”

During the press conference, Prof Whitty also denied claims that large numbers of young people were refusing to take the vaccine. “The great majority of people aged 16 to 29 have already taken up their first vaccine and are taking up their second,” he said.

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