Trinidad's Health Minister shuts down Nicki Minaj's vaccine claim: 'No reported such side effect'
Nicki Minaj's vaccine tweets, including one debunked claim, are getting the attention of experts.
In a series of tweets Monday, the 38-year-old rapper wrote she had contracted COVID-19 while prepping for Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards, which she skipped. Minaj also said she would not be attending the Met Gala over its vaccine requirement, saying she is waiting to get the vaccine until she felt she "had done enough research."
In a follow-up tweet, she said her cousin in Trinidad refuses to get the vaccine because of his friend who allegedly "became impotent" after getting vaccinated, a claim that quickly gained the attention of health ministers and doctors, including Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Terrence Deyalsingh, the Minister of Health of Trinidad and Tobago shut down Minaj's claims during a Wednesday press conference.
"We wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim," Deyalsingh said. "There is absolutely no reported such side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad."
A day before Deyalsingh addressed Minaj's tweet, Dr. Fauci appeared on CNN to say that claims concerning COVID-19 vaccines and reproductive issues are unfounded.
"There's no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen," Fauci said. "She should be thinking twice about propagating information that really has no basis, except as a one-off anecdote, and that's not what science is about."
Minaj kicked off her tweets minutes before the Met Gala, an event fans were expecting her to attend.
"They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met," she tweeted. "In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one."
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Met Gala's venue, requires all visitors age 12 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19, in accordance to New York's mandate requiring proof of vaccination for indoor activities amid the pandemic.
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Roughly half of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but vaccine hesitancy persists as the Delta variant rages in the U.S.
So far, the pandemic has cost at least 656,000 American lives. Unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to new studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Friday.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Friday that over 90% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are unvaccinated at this point, and there are 10 times the number of unvaccinated people in the hospital for COVID-19 than vaccinated people.
Some vaccinated people have gotten sick, but serious illness is rare in that group – another indication the coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective.
Minaj received mixed reactions from her devoted fanbase, known as Barbz. While some supported her declaration, an overwhelming amount of fans shared science-backed information to get the vaccine.
After nearly an hour of interacting with her fans on Twitter, Minaj asked her followers: "Which vaccine would you recommend? It’s #QueenRadio time. Talk to me."
"A lot of countries won’t let ppl work w/o the vaccine. I’d def recommend they get the vaccine," she added. "I’m sure I’ll b vaccinated as well cuz I have to go on tour, etc."
Contributing: Elise Brisco