Tinder has encouraged users to go on ‘virtual’ dates during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Along with asking about your perfect day or favorite vacation spot, popular dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and Plenty of Fish will be asking members about sharing whether they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The White House announced Friday that it is partnering with the apps to raise vaccine awareness among young adults and encourage them to get immunized.
White House senior Covid official Andy Slavitt said one of the apps, OkCupid, says members who display their vaccination status “are 14% more likely to get a match. We have finally found the one thing that makes all of us more attractive, a vaccination.”
More than 60% of U.S. adults have received at least one dose, but 42% of adults ages 18 to 34 say they are not willing to get vaccinated, according to a February Quinnipiac poll. Young adults ages 20 to 49 were responsible for 70% of the spread Covid last year, according to a study published in the journal Science. Doctors also report seeing more young adults admitted to hospitals with severe symptoms due to the spread of more dangerous variants.
Slavitt revealed last week that his son, who is 19, suffers from “long-Covid,” a term used to describe those who continue to experience symptoms long after initial infection. Slavitt said his son still experiences shortness of breath and frequent flu-like symptoms six months after initial infection. Researchers say long-Covid has been observed in many young adults who experienced mild symptoms initially.
With more variants emerging, summer weather approaching and mask mandates diminishing, efforts to reach hesitant young adults are intensifying.
“The pandemic has also had a negative impact on young peoples’ social lives. Social distancing and dating were always a bit of a challenging combination,” Slavitt told reporters.
As part of President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least one shot by the Fourth of July, Slavitt announced that dating apps Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, BLK, Hinge, Match, Chispa, Bumble and Badoo will begin rolling out features to encourage vaccinations among users. The apps serve more than 50 million people combined in the U.S. and many are young adults.
The apps will begin displaying badges that a user can display on their profile to note that they’ve been vaccinated or are planning to be vaccinated.
Other features include access to premium content like “boosts,” “super likes” and “super swipes” for vaccinated people, and search filters so that users can specifically seek others who have been vaccinated or plan to be vaccinated.
OkCupid said its features will be implemented on Monday; Chispa and BLK said theirs will be implemented on June 1. The other apps will begin to roll out the new features in the next few weeks.
“In all seriousness, people are interested in other things in life besides their vaccine. But the vaccine enables people to get back to the things they enjoy in life,” Slavitt said, noting that people want to know that they can resume their normal lives in a safe way.