It turned out that Nicki Minaj's cousin's boyfriend might not be a credible source after all.
On Monday, the pop star tweeted a claim that her cousin's boyfriend became impotent and suffered from swollen testicles in her home country, Trinidad, after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, causing his fiancée to abandon him.
While the dubious tweet caused a lot of ridicule on Twitter, it caught the attention of some real experts who were quick to put the story down.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN during an interview Tuesday that the vaccine does not make men impotent. "There is no evidence that it happened, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine it would happen," he said.
"There is a lot of misinformation, mostly on social media, and the only way to address misinformation and disinformation is to provide a lot of correct information," added Fauci. “And essentially debunking these kinds of allegations, which in turn may be innocent. I'm not blaming her, but she should think twice about spreading information that really has no basis. "
On Wednesday, Dr. Terrence Deyalsingh, Trinidad & Tobago's health minister, said the tweet sent officials on a wild hunt to track down such a patient. They could not.
Deyalsingh said in a video statement on Wednesday that there had been no reports of swollen testicles or impotence as a result of the vaccine anywhere in the country, nor were officials aware of any such cases – "nowhere else in the world".
"Unfortunately we wasted so much time yesterday trying to resolve 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 thing is that yesterday we wasted our time tracking them down because we take all these claims seriously, be it on social media or mainstream media. "
UK Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said Minaj should be "ashamed" of spreading misinformation. "There are a number of myths flying around that are just plainly ridiculous," he said on Wednesday, according to The Independent. “Some of these are clearly just meant to be scare, that happens to be one of them. That is not true."
Minaj's claim was picked up by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who defended her on the air and sparked another round of internet mockery against Minaj.
Minaj said Monday she did not receive the vaccine and defended her vaccination skepticism online. On Wednesday night, Minaj tweeted that she had been invited to the White House to discuss the matter.
"However, Twitter has not taken any enforcement action in relation to the specified account," said a Twitter spokesman on Wednesday evening.
Regarding the White House invitation, an official told the press, "As with others, we called Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer their questions about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine."