On Thursday night, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh appeared on US TV's Daily Show with presenter Trevor Noah to debunk recent claims about the covid19 vaccine by Trinidad-born rapper Nicki Minaj.
In a series of tweets on September 13, Minaj shared her hesitancy over being vaccinated.
Apart from saying she hadn’t done enough research on the vaccines, Minaj also claimed a cousin’s friend in TT had suffered impotence and testicular swelling after being vaccinated.
During his appearance on the late-night talk show, Deyalsingh assured Noah and his viewers that no one in TT has experienced testicular swelling after taking any covid19 vaccine.
Deyalsingh told Noah, “To date, we have administered over one million doses of vaccines in a country of 1.4 million.
“We are confident that we have brought WHO-approved vaccines to Trinidad and Tobago.
“And with those million doses we have administered to date, there have only been five cases of adverse events, (where all have) been reported to the WHO.”
In one tweet, Minaj also suggested TT was making vaccines mandatory for people to work.
When asked by Noah if this is the case, Deyalsingh said, “I welcome the opportunity to put the record straight. In simple language, that is simply not true.”
Asked if he had any direct message for Minaj, Deyalsingh gave general advice: “My message to TT’s diaspora, anywhere you are, is that vaccines are safe, and vaccines are effective.
“My message to the Caribbean diaspora is to spread the word (for people) to get vaccinated to save your life so we can also get back to our Caribbean way of life, whether it’s soca, whether it’s reggae, whether it’s playing steelpan...all these lovely things.
“The way out of this pandemic right now is to simply get vaccinated.”
Deyalsingh’s appearance on the show isn’t the first time he has responded to Minaj’s controversial tweets.
During his ministry’s virtual covid19 press conference on September 15, Deyalsingh also said there were no reports of testicular swelling as a result of the covid19 vaccine in TT or the around the world.
Clips of Deyalsingh addressing Minaj’s tweets during the press conference were used by international media outlets like CNN which covered the issue. They were also used on other US late-night talk shows like the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Noah is no stranger to TT, as he visited this country in 2018 for Carnival. Calling him an honorary Trini, Deyalsingh invited him to visit again.
“Trevor, if you want to come back here to play mas, get vaccinated and come back.
“I will personally take you to eat doubles, I will personally take you for coconut, I will personally take you to Tobago,” said Deyalsingh.
Excited by Deyalsingh’s offer, Noah replied, “I’ll tell you now, minister, you had me at 'doubles' and 'playing mas.'
“I’m going to try and lose a little bit of my covid weight and then I’ll be back. Maybe we’ll be playing in the same band. We’ll make it a special occasion.”