Trinidad and Tobago’s seemingly frustrated minister of health spoke out on Wednesday to discredit Nicki Minaj’s unfounded comment about COVID-19 vaccines and male fertility.
“Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim,” Terrence Deyalsingh said at one of his agency’s regular events to address questions about the coronavirus and vaccines. “It is, as far as we know in this point in time, there has been no such reported either side effect or adverse event.”
“What was sad about this is, is that it wasted our time yesterday, trying to track down,” he said. “Because we take all these claims seriously, whether it’s on social media or mainstream media.”
Minaj tweeted Monday that she had not gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, then claimed that her cousin’s friend in Trinidad and Tobago “became impotent” and had swollen testicles after receiving the shot. The rapper even emphasized the enormity of the situation by claiming that her cousin’s friend’s fiancee called off their wedding over his condition.
Health officials and urologists have emphasized that there is no evidence of the vaccines causing any fertility problems.
“Remember the most common vaccines being used, from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, contain mRNA and not the live virus,” Neel Parekh, a urologist at the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, told HuffPost earlier this week. “mRNA vaccines do not change your body’s DNA and there is no plausible means for the vaccine to cause impotence or swollen testicles.”
Minaj’s tweet sparked significant backlash, as many criticized the musician for irresponsibly spreading inaccurate information about vaccines to more than 22 million followers.
Minaj has since fired back at her detractors, pointing out that she has said she will likely get vaccinated when she has to go on tour and that she hasn’t been to many events to protect the health of her infant son. (In addition to posting about her cousin’s friend, Minaj tweeted on Monday that she’d get vaccinated “once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now.”)
But the rapper has also dismissed Twitter users arguing in favor of vaccine effectiveness, tweeting that she’d contracted the coronavirus and “had the exact same symptoms as [people] with the damn vaccine.”
All available COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death.