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Trinidad and Tobago’s health minister has dismissed claims by the rapper Nicki Minaj that a cousin’s friend had become impotent after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, saying that health officials in the Caribbean country had found no evidence that any patient had reported such side-effects.
“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad … and none that we know of anywhere in the world,” the minister, Terrence Deyalsingh, said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Deyalsingh lamented the time health officials spent investigating the claim, saying that they “take all these claims seriously”.
“Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim,” he said.01:17 No reports of 'testicular swelling in Trinidad': Nicki Minaj’s claim dismissed – video
Minaj prompted a global backlash on Monday with a tweet in which she claimed that a cousin’s friend had become impotent after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen,” she wrote. “His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding.”
Minaj encouraged her 22.5m Twitter followers to “pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.”
In an earlier tweet, Minaj said that she skipped this year’s Met Gala because vaccines were required to attend the event.
“If I get vaccinated it won’t [be] for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe,” she wrote.
Health officials around the world have criticized the rapper, saying her tweet spreads false information about the Covid-19 vaccine. There has been no evidence that Covid-19 causes fertility problems.
“She should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis,” Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN on Tuesday.Nicki Minaj: rarely a dull moment for the outspoken rapper Read more
UK chief medical officer Chris Whitty said in a press conference that those like Minaj who spread vaccine misinformation should be “ashamed”.
“I think they know they are peddling untruths. But they still do it. In my view, they should be ashamed,” he said.
Television hosts in the Caribbean nation did not spare Trinidad-born Minaj from sharp criticism, with one comparing her tweet to a story at a bar.
“Come on Nicki … people listen to you, people follow your particular lead,” said CNC3 television host Jason Williams. “It’s irresponsible on all fronts.”