original_title] | #bumble | #tinder | #pof


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With the easing of lockdown restrictions many of us are single and ready to mingle – but some want to know a prospective date’s Covid vaccination status before they decided to meet them. Others are indifferent.

The Government has now teamed up with popular dating apps on their campaign to encourage vaccine take-up to coincide with the rollout for the under-30s beginning this week.

Online daters will be able to choose to display a badge on their profiles to show if they have been vaccinated against Covid or support the jab drive, enjoying a series of benefits if they do so.

Tinder, Match, Hinge, Bumble, Badoo, Plenty of Fish, OurTime and Muzmatch have all signed up to the scheme.

A recent YouGov poll showed 28 per cent of adults would not date an unvaccinated person and 31 per cent would prefer them to be jabbed but wouldn’t mind if they were not.

There is 21 per cent who said they wouldn’t care about vaccination status either way. A fair amount – 17 per cent – answered don’t know.

Only 2 per cent would felt strongly that they would not date someone if they were jabbed and another 2 per cent would prefer their dates not to be vaccinated, but would date them if they were.

‘New features help you avoid the anti-vaxxers’

Dating app user Mark McDonagh says the Covid jab badges on dating apps will help you find like-minded people (Photo: Mark McDonagh)

Dating app user Mark McDonagh welcomed the move. “I think the new features are a good idea because they help you find like-minded people. There are still a lot of anti-vaxxers out there,” said the 35-year-old from Leeds.

“Promoting the vaccine is good for obvious reasons – it helps us all get back to normal – and it’s an extra aspect to showing your compatibility with someone.”

Ultimately, he said, sharing attitudes to dating regarding the pandemic gives people choice.

“Personally, I’m happy to meet people without social distance or masks because I want to try to get back to normal,” said the project manager who uses Tinder and Bumble. “It helps people be aware of and show respect for people’s preferences.”

The scheme in a nutshell

Features on dating apps will include vaccination badges and stickers to display on dating profiles, and in return users on some platforms will be rewarded with free ‘super likes’ and profile boosts.

Bumble will allow members to share preferences such as their views on wearing masks, social distancing and whether users are comfortable meeting in crowded places.

The thinking behind the Department of Health and Social Care’s campaign clearly is to give people a persuasive reason to get jabbed: more chance of getting a date.

While people of all ages use dating apps, the main target market is younger people, the demographic for which officials fear the message about vaccine take-up will be the hardest to get through to, because their lower risk of serious effects of Covid can cause complacency.

The scheme is voluntary and not connected to medical records or the NHS app, therefore, there will be no way of verifying whether those displaying the badge have actually had the vaccine.

A Government adviser has warned that allowing people to post their coronavirus vaccination status on their dating app profiles could fuel division and even alienate people from getting the jab.

Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told i: “I don’t think it’s a good idea. Firstly, a lot of people haven’t been offered the vaccine yet, and there are a number of people who can’t have it for medical reasons or don’t have easy access. Some have difficulty getting time off work, or difficulty getting to a vaccination centre.”

Further information about how features will work for individual apps is available here.

‘I’m vulnerable and won’t date someone unvaccinated’

Lauren Moore has multiple sclerosis and is classed as clinically vulnerable to Covid because she takes immunosuppressant medication. The 28-year-old from Swansea is pleased to see the features.

“I refuse to meet someone online who is unvaccinated,” she said. She points to research that suggests that although vaccinated people can still get infected with coronavirus, they are less likely to pass it on.

“For me and I’m sure many others who are vulnerable, the easing of lockdown is exciting but scary. The Indian variant is a worry.

“I’m trying to overcome my fears and go on some dates and get back to normal but I want to reduce my risks as much as possible. I’d like to meet for dates outdoors, until perhaps I’m dating just one person. I only want to meet people who are taking the risks seriously too.”

‘This feels a bit Orwellian’

Scott Dixon, who uses Plenty of Fish, finds the Covid vaccine status features on dating apps ‘a bit too instrusive’ (Photo: Scott Dixon)

Scott Dixon, who uses Plenty of Fish, finds the features “a bit too instrusive”. The 51-year-old from Edinburgh, who was hospitalised with Covid last March, said: “I’ll soon be double vaccinated and support vaccination. However, this feels a bit Orwellian.

“I’m all for people being encouraged to have the jabs, but I don’t like a pressured approach… Where do you draw the line?”

The consumer expert said that personally it “wouldn’t bother” him if a potential date was jabbed or not.

‘People will lie to get boosts’

Jade Maloney, 24, said that she believed some younger people may pretend they’ve had a vaccination when they haven’t. “I think some, espeically young guys, will use the ‘I got my Covid jab’ badge just to get more swipes on their profile if they know it gives them boosts even if they’ve not had the vaccine. People will lie to get boosts.

“I think there is complacency among my age group when it comes to the Covid jab. Young people feel invincible and because we are low risk it doesn’t feel urgent. So I’m sure people will use the features but I’m not sure it will necessarily make them go get the jab like the Government hopes.”

Do you have a real life story? Email claudia.tanner@inews.co.uk.



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