Trinidad and Tobago’s Health Minister has hit out at rapper Nicki Minaj, saying officials have wasted “so much time” investigating a false claim she tweeted to her 22.6 million followers about the COVID-19 vaccine.
A viral tweet from rapper Nicki Minaj that falsely claimed her cousin's friend got swollen testicles after taking a COVID-19 vaccine has sent international health authorities scrambling.
“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it and become impotent. His testicles became swollen,” the rapper wrote.
“His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding.”
Trinidad and Tobago Health Minister, Terrence Deyalsingh said the country has reported no “side effects or adverse events” relating to swollen testicles and the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mr Deyalsingh said officials had exhaustively investigated Minaj’s claim and found it to be false.
"We, unfortunately, wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim,” he said.
“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad or … anywhere. None that we know of anywhere else in the world."
The extraordinary tweet by the Trinidad-born rapper is yet to be flagged as misinformation by Twitter.
Only 32 per cent of Trinidad and Tobago’s population is fully vaccinated. Mr Deyalsingh said the tweet “did not help” the country’s health messaging “and will make our job a little harder, which we don't need right now.”
The United States’ top epidemiologist, Dr Anthony Fauci has also shot down Minaj’s claims, saying there is no scientific evidence to support them.
Appearing on CNN, Fauci warned Minaj to “think twice” before sharing anecdotal information about vaccine side effects to her 22.6 million followers.
Early on Thursday morning, protesters gathered outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s office in Atlanta.
In footage shared on Twitter by CBS46 journalist Tori Cooper, protesters are seen chanting: “Nicki Minaj told the truth to me, Fauci lied to me.”
Minaj later clarified her position, tweeting: “A lot of countries won’t let ppl work w/o the vaccine. I’d def recommend they get the vaccine. They have to feed their families. I’m sure I’ll b vaccinated as well cuz I have to go on tour, etc.”
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