It’s something you’d expect from a budget thriller on Netflix and, upon tweeting, many were quick to dismiss the claims made by Minaj. No research suggests that the Covid-19 vaccines can alter sexual performance, including sperm production, erectile dysfunction, or swollen testicles. As the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention suggests, “There is no evidence that vaccines, including Covid-19 vaccines, cause male fertility problems.” Instead, side effects you can expect from the vaccine include pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, fever and chills, however these vary person to person and depending on the vaccine you get. More importantly, these side effects are temporary (typically lasting just a day or two) and tend to be more severe after the second dose, compared to the first.
But while there might not be side effects to sexual performance from the Covid-19 vaccine, preliminary evidence suggests the virus itself might cause issues, particularly for those with penises. A small study published in the journal Andrology looked at survey data for 100 sexually active men (25 had Covid-19 at some point compared to 75 who did not). The results found that men who had Covid-19 were much more likely to report having erectile dysfunction than those who hadn’t had the virus.
Similarly, a study published in the World Journal of Men’s Health examined tissue samples from four people, two of whom had Covid-19 previously, that were undergoing surgery to treat severe erectile dysfunction. They detected viral particles in tissue from both of the participants even though they had gotten over their infections. There were also evidence of issues with endothelial cells which line blood vessels in those who had contracted Covid-19. This led researchers to suggest that the virus can affect sexual function by damaging those cells.
Not surprisingly, the overwhelming advice from health officials and medical staff is to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Rather than take advice from Nicki Minaj, we encourage you to talk through any concerns or questions with your GP and weigh up any potential risks and benefits of the vaccine against those of getting a Covid-19 infection while unvaccinated.