Dating apps add Covid vaccine stickers

Vaccine-only dating appointments are becoming very popular in many countries

A new feature that enables users to add a “vaccine sticker” to their profile has been introduced by popular dating apps in many countries including Australia, the US, and the UK.

Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Match, Hinge, Badoo, OurTime, Muzmatch, and Plenty of Fish will allow users to display a badge in their profiles to show whether they have been vaccinated against Covid-19. For users to activate the stickers they must have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.

The idea of vaccine stickers was initially introduced in the US. Back in May, the White House announced cooperation with Match Group – a company that owns dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid, and Match – to encourage the use of vaccination badges. As a reward, users who enable the vaccine badge and show they had been vaccinated, will get free credits or have access to premium features in those dating apps. Daters will also be encouraged to visit websites with information and educational materials on why to get vaccinated and how to access the nearest vaccination site.

“We have finally found the one thing that makes us more attractive — a vaccination,” said White House senior adviser for the COVID response Andy Slavitt. “Human connection is so vital for healthy lives — it’s why I am so committed to this business,” Shar Dubey, CEO of Match Group, underlined in a press release. “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.”

UK government announced a quite identical blueprint in collaboration with the dating app Bumble. Users will also be able to add “vaccinated” stickers to their profiles and find others also vaccinated daters. The vaccine stickers schemes came out of efforts to encourage more young people to get vaccinated. Nadhim Zahawi, Vaccines Minister in the UK, in a press release described this new tool as an “incredible asset” to the vaccination program. “I am thrilled that we are partnering up with dating apps to boost vaccine uptake across the country. This is another incredible asset to our vaccination program – the biggest and most successful in our history. The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and we have made incredible progress so far with over three-quarters of adults receiving at least one dose” said Zahawi. “I encourage everyone eligible to roll up their sleeves and get the jab – it could save your life and protect your loved ones.”

Alexandre Lubot, CEO of Match Group, EMEA, and APAC said that “an important part of returning to normal is helping people feel safe as they connect in person. We are honored to work with the UK government to encourage our members to participate in the vaccination campaign across our dating platforms”. About 10 million people in the UK use or have used dating apps and services. “Our members account for most of this user base. We shared campaign videos or advertising on apps, landing pages, and social media channels. For us, every step to a return to people meeting up, making new friends and starting new relationships is a step forward all” said Online Dating Association Chief Executive, George Kidd.

Bumble has announced that this feature will also be available to users in Australia and New Zealand. Daters from these countries can add the vaccination badge to their profile and start a conversation or arrange in-person meetings with other vaccinated users. Tinder is also working on making vaccine badges available in Australia the sooner as possible.

Users are not required to submit proof of their vaccine and therefore the dating apps will rely on daters’ honesty. The vaccine stickers will soon be available to more countries and even more dating apps are willing to participate and launch similar features.

George Mavridis is a freelance journalist and writer based in Greece. His work primarily covers tech, innovation, social media, digital communication, and politics. He graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. Also, he holds an MA in Media and Communication Studies from the Malmö University of Sweden and an MA in Digital Humanities from the Linnaeus University of Sweden.