White House, Dating Apps Unite to Push Vaccination

Lindsay Kalter

May 21, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

May 21, 2021 — People looking for love on dating apps can now find matches based on vaccination status and have access to special perks if they've gotten their COVID-19 shots, thanks to a new White House initiative announced Friday — an effort to motivate younger crowds to do their part.

"We believe that it's particularly important to reach young people where they are in the effort to get vaccinated," White House senior COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said during a Friday news briefing. "We do know that in addition to schooling, financial loss, and stress levels, the pandemic has also had a negative impact on young people's social lives."

The White House has teamed up with apps and websites including Tinder, Match, OkCupid, Hinge, Plenty of Fish, BLK, and Chispa. This will allow users to display a vaccination badge on their profiles and will provide information on where to find COVID-19 vaccination sites. In addition, those who have been vaccinated will be able to bring their profiles to the front of the stack and be more visible to other users.

According to a recent OkCupid analysis, Slavitt said, people who have been vaccinated are 14% more likely to find a match.

"Social distancing and dating were always a bit of a challenging combination," he said. "We have finally found the one thing that makes us all more attractive: a vaccination."

Each app has its own version of vaccine-related benefits: Match is giving users who take part in the campaign a free "boost" to help them stand out.

On Tinder, members who are vaccinated will get a free "super like," which can usually only be used sparingly.

The dating site partnership is one of many vaccine initiatives that will be announced in the coming weeks, Slavitt said.

Meanwhile, access to vaccines remains a persistent barrier for people, according to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD.

During the briefing, Murthy reported the results of a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, which found that among those who have not been vaccinated but want to be, a third said they did not have time due to work hours or other scheduling conflicts. About 7% said they didn't have enough information about how to get the vaccine, and 8% reported they weren't sure they were eligible.

"The data continues to point to access barriers being an important additional concern among people who are unvaccinated," Murthy said. "These numbers may seem small, but they actually represent millions of people."