Biden admin wants to bring sexy back with dating app vaccination statuses

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hot shots —

Amid giggles, US officials dish on dating app vaccinations badges, super swipes.

Beth Mole

OkCupid will soon offer vaccination badges.

Enlarge / OkCupid will soon offer vaccination badges.

Money can’t buy happiness, as the cliché goes. But a vaccination could get you money and happiness.

While governors in various states are offering a chance at cash prizes to those who have gotten their COVID-19 shots, dating apps are heating things up with alluring vaccination-related features like badges, super swipes, and other “premium” perks.

In a blog post Thursday, OkCupid announced that it will release “I’m Vaccinated” profile badges starting on May 24, and anyone who applies the badge in the first 48 hours will get a free “Boost.” OkCupid will also hook up unvaccinated users with resources to get a shot.

Vaccination has already proved a tantalizing feature for potential partners on the app. OkCupid reports that users who say they are vaccinated or are planning to get vaccinated are getting 15 percent more likes and 14 percent more matches while having 4.5 percent more conversations.

In a White House COVID-19 press briefing Friday, officials highlighted the work of OkCupid and other popular dating apps encouraging users to get vaccinated—with some noticeable giggles intermixed.

Senior White House advisor Andy Slavitt awkwardly went through a list of dating apps and vaccination features as chief medical advisor to the president Anthony Fauci, Surgeon General of the United States Vivek Murthy, and Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky looked on, sniggering and grinning.

Summer of love

“Social distancing and dating were always a bit of a challenging combination,” Slavitt said as he tried unsuccessfully to read pre-written remarks with a straight face. “But today, dating sites like Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, and Badoo are announcing a series of features to encourage vaccinations and help people meet people that have that universally attractive quality: They’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.”

After noting vaccination badges and OkCupid’s boosted matchmaking, Slavitt reported that dating apps would also offer filters so users can see only people who have been vaccinated. Many will also provide “premium features that I cannot get into but apparently include things like boosts and super swipes.”

“All right, got through that,” he said, ending his pre-written remarks.

Though the White House was in talks with dating app companies to encourage their efforts, the administration didn’t establish an official partnership with the companies, which collectively reach 50 million people, Slavitt said. The companies were already working on vaccination-related features on their own.

“In all seriousness, people are interested in other things in life besides their vaccine,” Slavitt said later in the press briefing during the question-and-answer segment. “While it is kind of a funny thing to talk about, the truth of the matter is, people do want to get back to their normal lives… I applaud the initiative on these companies’ parts.”

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