Psaki questioned on Nicki Minaj's vaccine hesitancy

One reporter asks Psaki, "What kind of responsibility do you think someone like Nicki Minaj has, someone with a really big platform when it comes to talking about the vaccine?"

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was questioned Thursday on the ongoing controversy surrounding American rapper Nicki Minaj and her comments about the COVID-19 vaccine.

"What kind of responsibility do you think someone like Nicki Minaj has, someone with a really big platform when it comes to talking about the vaccine?" one reporter asked.

"Well, our hope is that anyone who has a big platform is going to project accurate information about the effectiveness of the vaccine, the safety of the vaccine, and the availability of the vaccine," responded Psaki.

"At the same time, and both can be true, we also recognize that people have questions out there. They have questions they want to have answered by their doctors. We have doctors who can answer questions," she continued.

"I would say that if we believed that everybody who had skepticism about the vaccine wasn't someone we should engage with or talk to, we wouldn't have made the process we've made," Psaki added.

Psaki noted that in December 2020, only 33 percent of Americans were open to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. More recently, Psaki said nearly 75 percent of eligible Americans have received their first dose.

"So part of our strategy and pour objective from the beginning has been engaging with people who have questions, to help answer their questions," Psaki added.

Psaki also noted that "we offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she had about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine."

"This is pretty standard and something we do all the time," Psaki added.

Another reporter also asked Psaki about whether the White House would invite Nicki Minaj in to have a conversation about the vaccine.

"Nicki Minaj has 22 million Twitter followers. Why not invite her to the White House, have a conversation, and make it a big public thing?" the reporter asked.

In response, Psaki noted that working in partnership with celebrities can be a good way to reach a wide array of audiences, including a younger demographic. She added that calls, like the one, suggested to Minaj, are commonplace in the background.


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