TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (KXAN) — The health minister of Trinidad and Tobago has addressed claims rapper Nicki Minaj made Sunday, alleging her cousin in the country became impotent, because “his testicles became swollen” following receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
In response to Minaj’s comments, Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said Wednesday: “Claims are being made. One of the reasons we could not respond in real time to Ms. Minaj is because we had to check and make sure that what she was claiming was either true or false. Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim.”
Deyalsingh explained there have been no reports of such an incident as either a side effect or adverse event in the country as a result of the vaccine.
“It wasted our time yesterday,” said Deyalsingh. “Trying to track down. Because we take all these claims seriously — whether it’s on social media or mainstream media. As we stand now, there is absolutely no report of testicular swelling in Trinidad — and none that we know of anywhere else in the world.”
The artist behind hits like “Super Bass,” and “Starships,” lit up social media on Monday, when she tweeted her reason for not attending this year’s Met Gala: vaccine requirements. After saying she was waiting until she “felt she’d done enough research” on the vaccines, the “Anaconda” rapper said she’d feel comfortable getting vaccinated.
“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,” Minaj tweeted Monday.
Minaj, whose birth name is Onika Maraj, faced global criticism for the comments, which come amid a flurry of misinformation and disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Later on Wednesday, Minaj tweeted saying she had been invited to the White House to discuss the vaccine more and called it a “step in the right direction.”
“Yes, I’m going. I’ll be dressed in all pink like Legally Blonde so they know I mean business. I’ll ask questions on behalf of the ppl who have been made fun of for simply being human,” she wrote on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN while he’s not blaming Minaj for her comments, “she should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis.” Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there’s still no evidence COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems in anyone.
The CDC urges Americans the currently available COVID-19 vaccines — Pfizer (now fully FDA-approved), Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — are safe and effective. Booster shots are currently underway and under discussion. While vaccines do not ensure you won’t become infected with COVID-19, they have significant real-world data confirming they prevent severe illness and hospitalization.
Follow KXAN’s Russell Falcon on Twitter @RussellFalcon for more coronavirus updates.