Health officials from the UK to Trinidad refuted rapper Nicki Minaj’s “false claim” that her cousin’s boyfriend’s testicles were swollen after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine in her home country, Trinidad.
Dr. Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, said Minaj’s tweet to her more than 22 million followers late Monday sent the ministry on a wildcat chase to track down the poor man she said became impotent and his fiancé got about the side effects.
“Unfortunately we wasted so much time yesterday trying to work through this false claim,” said Deyalsingh. “As far as we know at this point, no such side effect or adverse event has been reported. And the sad part is that yesterday we wasted our time tracking them down because we take all of these claims seriously, be it in the social one Media or in the mainstream media. “
Deyalsingh said there had not been a single reported case of testicular swelling in Trinidad after Covid vaccine shots and that health authorities were known “nowhere else in the world”.
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, islands in the Caribbean, has fully vaccinated about 35% of its population and is recording an average of about 200 new Covid cases per day, according to Reuters. Different types of vaccines are used in the country, including those made by China’s Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer. It is unclear what vaccine Minaj’s cousin’s boyfriend received.
The rapper’s comments made waves around the world, generating backlash on Twitter from media figures, disgruntled fans and government health officials.
White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, gave CNN a “resounding no” when asked if any of the US-approved vaccines affect fertility in men or women. “There is no evidence that it happened, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine it would happen, so the answer to your question is no,” said Fauci.
Health officials in the UK criticized Minaj for contributing to a growing vaccine reluctance that has stalled global efforts to vaccinate enough people to achieve herd immunity to the virus.
“There are a number of myths that are just plain ridiculous,” said Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical officer. “Some of these are clearly just meant to be scare, that happens to be one of them. That is not true.”
Minaj also retweeted a claim by a man who says his father got a blood clot in his left eye after receiving a Covid vaccine, went blind, and ended up hospitalized with the virus that same week. While some of the vaccines have been linked to a rare blood clotting disorder, none of the reported blood clots occurred in the eyes or caused blindness. Minaj also claimed that a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found unvaccinated people 11 times more likely to die from Covid than unvaccinated people was “not true.”
Whitty said repeating the claim will only give her more credibility, “what you don’t need, you are untrue, period.”
He also said that some people know that they will tell “untruths” about the vaccine and keep doing it anyway. “You should be ashamed of yourself, and I’ll leave it at that,” said Whitty.
Minaj responded to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson after saying he didn’t know much about her. Minaj posted a sarcastic voice note in a fake British accent on Twitter saying she was a “big, big star” in the US and joking that she was with Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister who died in 2013 at Oxford University visited.
She also retaliated against several TV presenters who criticized her tweets. She told former The View host Meghan McCain to eat “s —” after McCain retweeted Minaj’s comments about testicular swelling and said, “That’s totally enough internet for today.” Minaj also called popular British host Piers Morgan a “stupid piece of S —” and said he should wear a “clown nose and big red shoes” after calling her “one of the rudest little madams” he ever met has – an insult Minaj embraced by adding it to her Twitter bio. Minaj and Morgan performed together on America’s Got Talent back in 2011, where Morgan claimed she ignored his children, which Minaj denied.
They weren’t the only media characters facing Minaj’s wrath; She used a racial slur to accuse MSNBC host Joy Ann Reid of being a liar and homophobia after Reid criticized her tweets. Minaj accused Reid and the rest of the “media” for twisting their words to serve white media managers.
“You get paid for it,” she tweeted.
Despite the criticism, Minaj said she was likely to get vaccinated because she had to go on tour. Some of Minaj’s supporters defended the singer, saying the open discussion about vaccine skepticism was a healthy way to weed out misinformation in public spaces.
Minaj retweeted another follower who said he received the vaccine and was not infected with Covid. “That’s the norm,” Minaj replied.
Correction: Chris Whitty is the UK’s Chief Medical Officer. In a previous version, his last name was misspelled.