Singles don’t want their vaccine status to be a dating barrier | #bumble | #tinder | #pof | #onlinedating


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Now that all adults in the U.S. are eligible for the COVID vaccine, proclaiming your vax status on dating apps has become almost as commonplace as men posing with a large fish or Pams yearning for their Jims.

But how important is being vaccinated to daters, really?

As part of Mashable’s post-pandemic dating and sex survey, people told us whether they had plans to get vaccinated and answered follow-up questions about on how their dating behavior would be impacted. Here’s what they had to say.

Will daters get vaccinated?

For starters, let’s look at how many respondents are getting vaccinated. The survey was conducted in late April 2021, and at that point 37 percent of respondents were already vaccinated. Twenty-seven percent said they planned on getting the vaccine, while 19 percent said they wouldn’t. Finally, 18 percent said they weren’t sure.

Next, we looked at how important it was to daters that a potential partner had received the COVID vaccine. Overall, the most common answer (around 26 percent) was that it was “very important” for a potential partner to be vaccinated.

A closer look at the stats, however, reveals a more complex story. For the most part, whether someone deemed it important for a date to be vaccinated correlated with whether they themselves were or planned to be. For example, people that were already vaccinated overwhelmingly (64 percent) said it was somewhat or very important for a potential partner to be as well. This aligns with Match’s recent Summer of Love survey, in which more than half of respondents (56 percent) were somewhat or very concerned about their date’s vaccination status.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of the folks in our survey that don’t plan on getting the vaccine said it’s not at all important if a potential match does.

To Aura Priscel, a clinical psychologist, mental health therapist, and contributing writer at Psychology Degree Guide, this shows that people are looking for others to agree with them — which is no surprise, especially considering that daters value a partner with similar political beliefs (not to mention that vaccines themselves have been increasingly politicized).

“Dating is a process of finding someone you can agree with,” said Priscel, “and with vaccination status also often acting as a political marker, it may be a way for people to find others they will have more in common with.”

There’s an interesting ripple in this, however; smaller numbers of respondents didn’t align with this thinking. Five percent of those who don’t plan on getting the vaccine, for example, said it was “very important” for a potential partner to do so.

“With vaccination status also often acting as a political marker, it may be a way for people to find others they will have more in common with.”

One possible explanation for this could be that these respondents are immunocompromised, thus unable to get vaccinated but still at a high COVID risk. Another explanation, according to Priscel, could be that these people want a way of being protected but don’t want to be exposed to possible vaccine side effects.

“It also may be a way to motivate themselves after seeing that their partner has been vaccinated and has not had a negative reaction,” Priscel added.

Dr. Kathleen Jordan, SVP of women’s healthcare provider Tia, worries this small group’s vaccine hesitancy could’ve stemmed from misinformation. An example she stated was a false post that circulated (and has since been taken down due to illegitimacy) which stated COVID antibodies would attack placentas and lead to miscarriage. This is wildly untrue, but some people unfortunately believe everything that comes up on their Facebook page — which could lead them to want their partner vaccinated but not themselves.

While a date’s vaccine status mattered to the majority of vaccinated and soon-to-be vaccinated respondents (59 percent and 64 percent said it is either somewhat or very important, respectively), that means that the rest of those respondents are more flexible. Some people don’t want their own status or their partner’s status to be a barrier to dating, said Priscel.

These people are willing to compromise on status “in order to have more options, or they may feel that being vaccinated themselves is a sufficient precaution,” Priscel continued.

This stands in contrast with a recent May 2021 dating survey from Tia. The vast majority, 82 percent of over 500 Tia members, said they wouldn’t date someone who isn’t vaccinated.

Why so high? Jordan said that many members are young and thus at less risk for severe COVID if they went unvaccinated, so it’s not wholly about the actual risk. In addition to residual COVID worries, some also discussed what the decision to forgo the vaccine said about the person themself.

Jordan listed questions those considering dating an unvaccinated person may ask: “Do they not trust science enough? Do they think that they are invincible? Does it mean that they have disregard for the societal benefit/risk to others? Does it say something about their political beliefs?”

From the response, however, most Tia members won’t answer these questions as they won’t date someone unvaccinated. Mashable’s respondents appear to be more yielding in this area, but to others it’s still important. As Jordan said, “Vaccination status is a serious new ‘checkbox’ when dating.”

Will people date in-person? Virtually? Both?

In addition to plans about vaccination, Mashable also asked about plans concerning method of dating itself:

Image: bob al-greene / mashable

The most respondents plan on dating in-person (around 35 percent), while a mix of in-person and virtual dates was the next most common answer at about 31 percent. A smaller number (around 17 percent) of respondents plan on either keeping it virtual only or swearing off dating/apps entirely.

Breaking this down by respondents’ vaccine status, the numbers aren’t surprising. The most popular response for those not getting vaccinated is that they will date in-person only (40 percent), while 34 percent will have both in-person and virtual dates.

Here, again, we see that people don’t want their vaccine status to hold them back from dating. Priscel said of these respondents, “These are clearly people who feel the virus poses very little threat to them regardless of vaccination status and aren’t planning to change their dating habits because of it.”

Of those who are already vaccinated, however, 34 percent will only date in-person; 30 percent of those who plan on getting vaccinated but weren’t yet said they’ll only date in-person. These people seem to be more cautious than those who took Match’s Summer of Love survey, where 46 percent said once they’re vaccinated, they’ll be ready to date in-person again.

Mashable’s post-pandemic sex and dating survey reiterates what we already know: Some people are still cautious about COVID even after vaccination, while others aren’t even as they’re unprotected.

As the world opens up again and meeting people in-person becomes a possibility along with online dating, we’ll see how well (or horribly) these groups mesh. Given that Mashable’s respondents are flexible even in their caution, however, this could be a hot vaxxed (or unvaxxed?) summer to remember.

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