Swollen Balls: Say It Ain’t So?

By Flora Johnson, M.Ed. | UAB Community Health & Human Services Alumni

Image from Alex Green | Graphics by Shayna Bryan

Question of the Day

A 23-year-old male is referred for treatment due to swollen testicles. He explains that the reaction occurred after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. What is the best response?

  1. Laugh at the gentleman and dismiss his claim.
  2. Report on the condition to the local county health department immediately.
  3. Thank them for their honesty and let everyone know why not get vaccinated.
  4. Assure it is scientifically impossible and offer evidence-based reasons for testicle swelling.

Continue reading for the answer.


Vax Facts

A reasonable amount of blame has been placed upon the COVID-19 pandemic. Shoveling our woes on the virus is not uncommon. Sure, the virus has caused major and minor disruptions. However, the coronavirus vax jab facts remain the same – it is safe for medical use with little to no known major medical disruptions.

COMRINATY is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for injection use in individuals age 16 and older. The known side effects are mild and include injection site pain, redness, and/or swelling. Chills, fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and tiredness are also side effects experienced throughout the body.

These side effects occur within two days. This is normal and will go away within a few days. It is 95% effective at preventing infection or death.

My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.

-Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ)

The Thing Is

Recording artist, Grammy winner, and actress, Nicki Minaj stirred controversy for her vaccine hesitancy perception. The star explained that their Trinidadian cousin’s best friend’s testicles swelled after receiving a vax jab. He allegedly experienced impotence.

Whoa! Let’s fact-check this. The Messenger’s message has a resounding magnitude – one that matters.

Nicki was uninvited to the Met Gala for non-vaccination. She had unanswered COVID-19 questions and refused to take the shot. Her primary concern was valid. However, the controversy caused chaos in Trinidad and abroad. An opportunity to express her vaccine hesitancy concerns with Dr. Fauci, the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and leading COVID-19 physician advisor to the United States, during a live-streamed phone call resulted.

As we stand now, there is no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad, or I dare say… none that we know of anywhere else in the world.

Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh

Question of the Day Answer

D. Assure it is scientifically impossible and offer evidence-based reasons for testicle swelling. There are no identified reproductive side effects. Possible reasoning for scrotal swelling is the following:

  • Trauma that causes inflammation
  • Testicular cancer
  • STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis)

Take Away This

While the coronavirus vaccines were developed rapidly, they are safe. They reduce viral transmissions and can keep you from getting seriously ill if infected. All side effects are mild and are experienced at the injection site or throughout the body. The vaccine does not disturb the reproductive system.

If I want to ask questions about the vaccine, what’s wrong?”

– Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions. However, be certain the information you find is credible. Click here to learn the vax jab facts and where to find other plausible wellness resources.


Use this image to share the message on social media!

Sources and Further Reading:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Pfizer-biontech COVID-19 vaccine overview and Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html.

Cohen, L. (2021, September 16). White House offers Nicki Minaj a call after she expressed COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, official says. CBS News. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nicki-minaj-white-house-call-covid-vaccine-hesitancy/.

Kahn, A., & Fisher, J. K. (2019, July 2). What you need to know about scrotal swelling. Healthline. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/scrotal-swelling#causes.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Niaid director. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.niaid.nih.gov/about/director.

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