Trinidad And Tobago’s Health Minister Says Officials ‘Wasted Time’ Doing Damage Control After Nicki Minaj’s Tweets

The health minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Terrence Deyalsingh, has rejected Nicki Minaj‘s claims that the COVID-19 vaccine could possibly lead to impotence in men.

In her tweets explaining why she refused her invitation to this year’s Met Gala, the Trinidadian-born rap artist admitted she was not yet vaccinated and would need more information before she felt it was safe to do so. As for why she had her doubts, she cited her cousin from Trinidad and Tobago, who told her an anecdote of a friend who allegedly wound up with swollen testicles after receiving the vaccine. 

“We had to check and make sure that what she was claiming was either true or false,” Deyalsingh told the press in a news conference, according to The Daily Beast. “Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim. As far as we know at this point in time, there has been no such reported either side effect or adverse event.”

He continued, harping on the “wasted time” he and his team used to look into this story.

“What was sad about this is that it wasted our time yesterday trying to track down, because we take all these claims seriously, whether it’s on social media or mainstream media,” he said. “As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad, or I dare say anywhere. None that we know of anywhere else in the world.”

Deyalsingh cautioned that influencers with the status of someone like Minaj have a responsibility to tweet carefully. Trinidad and Tobago’s vaccination numbers are currently fairly low, reports local outlet CNC3. With only 39.2% of the population reportedly with access to the vaccine, the majority of the island remains unvaccinated. 

“Her tweet certainly did not help because people like her are social influencers and they do carry some sway,” Deyalsingh said on Wednesday. “So it certainly didn’t help, and will make our job a little harder, which we don’t need right now.”

It’s a statement that was echoed by Dr. Anthony Fauci also dismissed Minaj’s claims during an appearance on CNN. 

“The answer to that is a resounding no,” Fauci said, per Today. “There is no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen. So the answer to your question is no.”

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