White House partners with dating apps to raise vaccine awareness

Tinder has encouraged users to keep “virtual” appointments during the coronavirus pandemic.

Budrul Chukrut / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

In addition to asking about your perfect day or favorite vacation spot, popular dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and Plenty of Fish ask members if they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The White House announced on Friday that it is partnering with the apps to raise awareness of vaccines among young adults and encourage them to get vaccinated.

Andy Slavitt, White House chief Covid official, said one of the apps, OkCupid, says members who show their vaccination status are “14% more likely to get a match. We finally found what we all have makes vaccination more attractive. “

More than 60% of adults in the US have received at least one dose, but 42% of adults ages 18 to 34 say they are unwilling to get vaccinated, according to a survey by Quinnipiac in February. Young adults between the ages of 20 and 49 were responsible for 70% of the spread of Covid last year, according to a study published in the journal Science. Doctors also report that more young adults were admitted to hospitals with severe symptoms due to the spread of more dangerous variants.

Slavitt announced last week that his 19-year-old son had “long-covid,” a term used to describe those who show symptoms long after the initial infection. Slavitt said his son was still short of breath and had frequent flu-like symptoms six months after the initial infection. Researchers say that long-covid has been seen in many young adults who initially developed mild symptoms.

As more and more variants emerge, the summer weather approaches and the mask mandates decrease, efforts to reach hesitant young adults intensify.

“The pandemic has also negatively affected the social lives of young people. Social distancing and dating have always been a challenging combination,” Slavitt told reporters.

As part of President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of adults in the US vaccinated with at least one shot by July 4th, Slavitt announced that dating apps like Tinder, Lot of Fish, OkCupid, BLK, Hinge, Match , Chispa, Hummel and Badoo will begin rolling out features to promote vaccination among users. The apps collectively serve more than 50 million people in the United States and many are young adults.

Badges are displayed in the apps that a user can view on their profile to determine that they have been or should be vaccinated.

Additional functions include access to premium content such as “Boosts”, “Super-Likes” and “Super-Swipes” for vaccinated people, as well as search filters that allow users to search specifically for other people who have been vaccinated or are planning a vaccination.

OkCupid said its features will be implemented on Monday; Chispa and BLK announced that their apps will be implemented on June 1st. The other apps will start rolling out the new features in the next few weeks.

“In all seriousness, people care about other things in life besides their vaccine. But the vaccine allows people to get back to the things they enjoy in life,” Slavitt said, noting that people want to know they are be able to resume their normal life in a safe manner.

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