Doctor who Boris compared to Nicki Minaj has been trying to dodge the spotlight
The doctor who Boris Johnson unexpectedly compared to Nicki Minaj during a Covid press conference has been trying to retreat from the spotlight this month.
The PM mentioned Dr Nikki Kanani, the medical director of primary care for NHS England, after England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, was asked on Tuesday about comments Minaj made on Twitter. The US rapper had claimed her cousin's friend was rendered impotent after the jab caused by swelling in the testicles.
Whitty said anyone spreading misinformation "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," he said of Minaj's tweet to her 22m followers.
The prime minister then chimed in saying he wasn't that familiar with Nicki Minaj's work "as I should be", but he was well versed on another Nikki, that being Dr Nikki Kanani "who’s appeared many times before you, who will tell you that vaccines are wonderful and everybody should get them. So I prefer to listen to Nikki Kanani”.
But while, somewhat predictably, the Whitty-Minaj beef went bonkers on social media - and she is now un-rapping Pier Morgan's many flaws - Johnson's shift-change to keep on message was a bit of a masterclass in Covid messaging.
So, who is Dr Nikki Kanani?
Quite fittingly, the doctor who was thrust into the spotlight over Johnson's response to a tweet, has been trying to escape it this month. She left Twitter just days ago.
And today, she is yet to comment. JOE has approached Kanani, through the NHS, for comment but it is yet to formally respond.
In a now unavailable tweet, she wrote: "My account will be deactivated Friday 4pm (after it is archived). If we are Twitter friends and need to connect another way, please DM me before then so we can share details.
"I’ll keep listening and learning from the 40 + WhatsApp groups I run, through weekly visits and more ?"
Kanani quit Twitter on September 3 saying she had no choice due to its "toxic and demoralising” atmosphere.
While telling The Independent that Twitter had many benefits, she said "sometimes it’s impossible to really set out the challenges of a situation or a role – 140 characters or a thread won’t ever show what is happening”.
Dr Kanani has been the face of a number of NHS educational videos around vaccines during the pandemic and is a GP in south-east London and the Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England and NHS Improvement. She was the Chief Clinical Officer of NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group, before that, her profile on the NHS website notes.
It goes on to say, she has held a range of positions within healthcare "to support the development of innovative models of care, highly engaged clinical, patient and public leadership and is passionate about supporting primary care, improving service provision and population wellbeing".
Dr Kanani is a member of The King’s Fund General Advisory Council and holds a MSc in health care commissioning and along with her sister, Dr Sheila Kanani, co-founded STEMMsisters, a social enterprise supporting young people to study science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine. She has two young children.
She was awarded an MBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to primary care.
And in July, she was celebrated by the Girls' Day School Trust, winning the exceptional contribution award.
The Trust noted: "Nikki has been consistently at the forefront of the fight against Covid, and played a leading part in the roll-out of the largest vaccination programme in the health service history, launching the NHS blueprint to increase vaccine confidence – a critical part of the roll-out. She did all this while continuing to work as a GP in her south east London practice."