US citizens will soon be able to find out whether their next date partner has been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. The White House has recently partnered with online dating apps such as Tinder, Match, and Bumble to encourage more people to get themselves vaccinated against the virus, which has killed close to 600,000 people in the US alone.
With a large portion of the US population already vaccinated, the country has started loosening restrictions as daily fresh COVID-19 cases have been on a decline. People in the country are returning to some semblance of normal life, including going on dates again.
The Joe Biden administration has set a goal of delivering at least a single shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of US adults by July 4, the Independence Day of the US. The White House has partnered with online dating apps to attract younger populations to get vaccinated who would otherwise be hesitant to get the jab.
"Social distancing and dating were always a bit of a challenging combination," White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt told reporters on Friday.
He said OkCupid, one of the dating sites, reported that people who displayed their vaccination status were 14 per cent more likely to get a match.
"We have finally found the one thing that makes us all more attractive: a vaccination," Slavitt said.
The dating platforms, which cater to more than 50 million people in the United States, will offer badges showing vaccination status, free access to "premium content like boosts, super likes, and super swipes" for vaccinated individuals, and filters for potential hook-ups based on people's vaccination status, the White House said.
Match Group Inc (MTCH.O) confirmed the participation of its top US brands including Tinder, Match, OkCupid, Hinge, Plenty of Fish, BLK, and Chispa. Promotional campaigns will launch in the coming weeks and run until July 4.
"We are honored to work with the White House on increasing vaccinations across America, which will allow people to once again meet in person and engage in meaningful ways. This will make dating safer for everyone, everywhere," Shar Dubey, CEO of Match Group, said.
To meet the 70% target as demand slows for vaccines, the White House this month announced partnerships with ride-hailing services Uber (UBER.N) and Lyft (LYFT.O).
As of Thursday, the United States has administered about 279.4 million doses, with 48.2% of its people receiving at least one shot, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.