16 June 2024

UNITED STATES (AFP): Vaxxing, not waxing, is the new must-do before a hot date, with dating apps joining the White House on Friday to promote Covid-19 shots.

Tinder, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, and Badoo are all adding vaccination status to the more expected details on dating profiles as part of a rollout over the next few weeks.

Getting the shot may also do more for lovers than keep them healthy, the White House said in a statement.

“According to research from OKCupid, people who are vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated receive 14 percent more Matches than people who don’t plan to get vaccinated,” it revealed.

Among the extra incentives being offered by Tinder, for example, is access to the “Super Like” feature to “help them stand out among potential matches,” the White House said.

The apps include BLK, which is targeted at African Americans, and Chispa, which is largely used by the Hispanic community. They will also help users locate where they can get vaccinated.

“It is kind of a funny thing to talk about, but the truth of the matter is people do want to get back to their normal lives,” Andy Slavitt, a senior White House Covid advisor, told reporters.

In a statement, OkCupid said the phrase “I’m vaccinated” increased over 1,400 percent in May compared to January.

More than seven in 10 daters on the app say they will get the Covid-19 vaccine, and only seven percent of singles now say they’re not comfortable with in-person dating.

Tinder said it was enabling members to display stickers such as “I’m Vaccinated” or “Vaccines Save Lives” on their profile.

“We’re excited to work with the White House to help 70 percent of American adults get vaccinated by July 4th,” said the company’s CEO Jim Lanzone.

“Nothing like fireworks to signal a new spark and a new start for those looking to meet new people IRL this summer.”

Though the vaccination rate is slowing, more than 60 percent of US adults have now received at least one dose. President Joe Biden has set a goal of July 4 for that number to reach 70 percent.

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all continuing to fall, with the current daily new infection rate eight per 100,000 people.

Health experts consider an outbreak on the path to containment when that figure drops below one per 100,000.

The government’s decision to team up with dating sites comes a day after it advised Americans to stop kissing and snuggling with their backyard poultry, in order to stem the spread of Salmonella.