The White House Teams Up with Dating Apps to Promote COVID-19 Vaccines

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Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid and others are offering incentives to encourage users to get vaccinated.

Originally published by The 19th

The Biden administration wants Americans to swipe right on COVID-19 vaccines.

Some of the U.S.’s biggest dating apps are teaming up with the White House to promote vaccinations by offering incentives and information to users. Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid and five other apps will join. 

Included among the perks on the apps are badges to show vaccination status, search filters based off of who has gotten the vaccine, and free access to paid features — such as shortcuts that allow people to link up more easily with potential dates. A release from the White House cites OkCupid data showing that users who are vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated get 14 percent more matches than those who do not. According to Tinder, the U.S.’s most popular dating app, mentions of the word “vaccine” have been up 800 percent since the start of the pandemic, reaching an all-time high in April.

The campaigns will launch in the coming weeks and run through July 4, the deadline that the Biden administration has given itself to have 70 percent of adults in the United States at least partially vaccinated. 

Users on Tinder will be able to indicate whether they support vaccines on their profile, and vaccinated users can access “super likes.” On OkCupid, in addition to being able to add “I’m vaccinated” stickers to profiles, users who have received the vaccine will be added to a new matching system that allows people to search based on vaccine status and receive a free “boost.” The woman-founded dating site Bumble and Badoo, which it also owns, will allow customers within the United States to add badges indicating that they are vaccinated and access content like “spotlight” and “superswipes” for free. 

Hinge, Match and Plenty of Fish will offer similar incentives to users, according to the release. BLK and Chispa, designed specifically for Black and Latinx singles, respectively, will also join in the campaign. 

It is unclear how the apps will verify if users are vaccinated or not. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60.5 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

“We’re excited to work with the White House to help 70% of American adults get vaccinated by July 4th,” Jim Lanzone, CEO of Tinder, said in a press release. “Nothing like fireworks to signal a new spark and a new start for those looking to meet new people IRL this summer.”

Although the initiative did not include dating apps with a specific focus on LGBTQ+ people, it could help reach them: According to an October 2019 study by the Pew Research Center, lesbian, gay or bisexual adults are twice as likely to have used a dating app than straight people. Though the CDC has noted that many LGBTQ+ people have health disparities that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus, there is no updated data to show vaccination rates or COVID transmission among that population. LGBTQ+ organizations have warned that queer Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

Disclosure: Bumble has been a financial supporter of The 19th.

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