Online daters in the United Kingdom will soon be able to update their user profiles with “vaccine badges” to show they have received treatment under a new government-backed initiative to support the COVID-19 inoculation drive.
British users of popular dating apps including Tinder, Hinge and Bumble can expect a host of new COVID-19-related features, including profile boosts for those who share their vaccine status.
OkCupid has started a “vaccinated” category which helps users narrow their search to potential matches who say they have received treatment. Badoo, Plenty of Fish, OurTime and Muzmatch have all joined the campaign, organized by the UK Health Department.
The move comes after a recent survey from pollster YouGov showed 59 percent of UK adults would either prefer their date to be vaccinated or would not date an unvaccinated person.
UK Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said he expects the initiative will boost vaccine uptake around the country. “This is another incredible asset to our vaccination program,” Zahawi said. “I encourage everyone who is eligible to roll up their sleeves and get the jab. It could save your life and protect your loved ones.”
Around 10 million people in the UK use or have used dating apps, the Online Dating Association said. Online dating saw a sharp upturn in popularity when the COVID-19 pandemic began and lockdowns hampered face-to-face socializing.
Match Group, which owns Tinder, match.com, OkCupid, and Hinge, said revenue for the latter app tripled in 2020 compared to the previous year.
Bump in usage
Match Group said that vaccine rollout contributed to a further bump in usage in the first three months of this year, when its overall subscriber base grew by 12 percent and Tinder’s daily swipe average increased by 15 percent.
Bumble said that along with an option to display vaccine status, it will also encourage users to share their preferences for indoor or outdoor dates, mask wearing, and other social distancing measures.
Naomi Walkland, Bumble’s vice-president for marketing in Europe, said the pandemic is an important topic among new daters.
Tinder will allow members to choose between a variety of profile badges, including “I’m vaccinated “and “vaccines save lives”. Those that take part in the campaign will get a free “super like” to help them stand out among potential matches.
Under the UK initiative, displaying a vaccine badge will be optional for app users. There will be no way of verifying if users have actually received a vaccine.