The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

False claims spread vaccine distrust, promote hesitancy

October 7, 2021

Celebrity and singer Nicki Minaj tweeted on Sept. 13 to her 22.8 million followers a claim that a distant acquaintance was rendered impotent due to the COVID-19 vaccination. Ms. Minaj wrote that one should “just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.” The message divided Nicki Minaj’s fanbase and spilled over to the rest of the online world, calling into question the line between outright misinformation and the sharing of a personal anecdote.

Ms. Minaj’s claims were proven to be unfounded, and there has been a large amount of backlash to her tweet. However, anti-vaxxers and fans of Ms. Minaj still work to defend her. A small number of people believe that the vaccine is entirely harmful and should not be taken by anybody, but the majority of Ms. Minaj’s fans defend her on a different basis. In her tweet, she never explicitly said not to get the vaccine. Her fans argue that she was simply sharing a personal experience.

Twitter user @Shenekaaa argued in defense of Nicki Minaj, writing “She and any other person in this world is allowed to share their experiences. How you decide to twist and interpret it is on you.”

However, a different sentiment exists at the Laboratory Schools. Many students are upset or disappointed in Nicki Minaj, believing that her simply sharing the story is irresponsible as it spreads misinformation and encourages hesitation toward the vaccine. While she did not directly suggest not getting vaccinated, junior Nathan Greeley said he believes Ms. Minaj’s tweet is almost as bad.

“I thought it was funny at first, and then I realized it wasn’t ironic,” Nathan said. “She could just be really really stupid and is not seeing how extremely harmful this could be to people.”

Vaccine hesitancy has been proven to be a legitimate and growing issue, and no matter Ms. Minaj’s original intent with her tweet, it inspired hesitation in some of her 22 million followers.

The user @Tasty_MINAJ wrote on Twitter, “I had to get the vaccine cause they wouldn’t let me look for a job or get a job and to earn some money, and now im unsure about getting the second vaccine.”

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