COVID-19: Dating Apps Offer Perks For Users Receiving A Vaccine | News from the UK
The government has turned to dating apps to encourage young people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Starting Monday, Tinder, Hinge, Match, Badoo, Plenty of Fish, OurTime, Muzmatch and Bumble allow users to show their support for the vaccine on their dating profiles.
They also give in-app bonuses to those who claim to have been vaccinated against the virus.
Users will see ads and banners for the “Every Vaccination Gives Us Hope” campaign – and they will be able to use vaccination cards and stickers, free “super” likes, and other features.
All of these new features are optional, but the Department of Health and Social Affairs insisted there was research showing that people are more likely to date someone who has had a COVID-19 vaccination.
There have long been concerns that the high levels of use in the elderly may not be reflected in younger people, who are at lower risk of death or complications from the virus.
People under 30 will be encouraged to book their vaccinations starting this week, but there are early signs that the intake may be better than expected.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, the positive vaccination mood among those under 30 is lower than the national average, but has increased significantly since the first COVID-19 vaccination in December.
Between 10 and 13 December last year, the number of 16 to 29 year-olds was 63%, between 19 and 23 May it was 85%. The national rate for adults of all ages rose from 78% to 95% over the same period.
Footage from various walk-in vaccination clinics across the country has shown that many young people stepped forward when they were allowed to get the vaccination.
A walk-through center opened in Bolton – a hotspot for the more highly communicable variant first reported in India – reported individuals aged 17 and over who are vaccinated. And when a walk-in center in Twickenham tweeted that anyone over 18 could be vaccinated, several hundred young people showed up hoping to get her jab.
Since January there have also been reports that young people who walk in at general practitioners’ practices can be vaccinated with doses that would otherwise be wasted due to storage restrictions.
Young people have many reasons to get vaccinated as the effects of the coronavirus lockdowns have hit them hardest in many ways.
ONS figures from March showed that 16- to 24-year-olds 61% of those who have lost their paid employment during the Corona crisis.
Many teens had their school or university education put on hold for months, and most will have heard the warning from experts that while young people are not at high risk of complications from the disease, they are able to pass the virus on to them who are.
Naomi Walkland, Bumble’s vice president for Europe, said one of the features on offer would allow users to indicate their preference for dating only indoors or outdoors.
She added, “The ‘COVID talk’ is already a priority for two out of three people on Bumble, so making it easier to be comfortable and safe on a date is important.
Shahzad Younas, founder and CEO of Muzmatch, said: “We understand the concerns of young Muslims about vaccination, especially those who are getting married.
“Misinformation has been spreading at an alarming rate in our communities, so we’re glad to be working with the NHS to clear up myths about the vaccine and encourage our members to get vaccinated.
“As a marriage app that helps single Muslims find love, we knew we had to act quickly when the pandemic broke out to make sure people could meet safely.”
Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This is another incredible win for our vaccination program – the largest and most successful in our history.
“The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic, and we’ve made incredible strides so far with over three-quarters of adults receiving at least one dose.
“I encourage anyone entitled to roll up their sleeves and get the trick – it could save your life and protect your loved ones.”