Thursday, May 26

Cupid’s needle? UK Under 30s Courted With Dating App Vaccine Voucher | Coronavirus

First came the idea of ​​making Covid shots mandatory for pub crawls, while Israel offered free pizza and beer with a drink. Now UK officials have hit on what they hope is an even more persuasive reason for young people to take their hit: more chances of getting a date.

In an eye-catching policy that coincides with the launch of vaccines for those under 30 starting this week, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has partnered with popular dating apps to encourage adoption of the program.

Tinder, Match, Hinge, Bumble, Badoo, Plenty of Fish, OurTime, and Muzmatch users will enjoy a number of benefits by adding their vaccination status to their profile, including virtual badges and stickers.

Most apps also offer people who say they’ve been vaccinated free bonuses, such as a number of “boosters,” that promote their profile to potential dates, offering the tantalizing prospect of more engagement in what’s already been done. billed per post. -pandemic “summer of love”.

The scheme is completely voluntary and is not related to any medical records or NHS application, which means it is based on trust.

While dating sites and apps cater to all ages, they are predominantly used by younger people, the demographic for which ministers and officials fear vaccine adoption will be the lowest, given the lowest chance of outcomes. severe coronavirus.

In March, government experts said an argument for making Covid certificates mandatory for people who use pubs and other hospitality venues would be to push the very young to get vaccinated. Such certificates, which now seem less likely to be introduced, would require a vaccination test or a recent negative Covid test or a positive antibody test to enter crowded indoor spaces.

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Covid vaccine passports: what can we learn from Israel?  - explanatory video
Covid vaccine passports: what can we learn from Israel? – explanatory video

In another target from a group considered less likely to accept vaccination offers, Muzmatch, one of the apps that DHSC works with, is a site aimed at single Muslims. The government has been keen to promote vaccination among British ethnic minorities, and polls show more general skepticism among people of black and South Asian descent compared to white people.

On Tinder, where users “swipe” images hoping to get a match, people will be able to add virtual stickers like one that says “I’m vaccinated,” and those who sign up will get a free “super like” to boost their profile. .

Similar sticker and bonus schemes will work in Match, OkCupid, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Hinge, and Badoo. Muzmatch will engage with medical experts who will answer questions about vaccines on their social media.

A similar approach was launched in the United States last month, with the White House partnering with dating apps. Earlier this year, Israel, which has led the world In vaccine distribution, he reported a drop in people who kept appointments, in part due to apathy after he began offering blows to those under 35.

George Kidd, industry group director for the Online Dating Association, said he was “delighted to be playing his role in spreading the word about vaccines.” He said: “Dating apps and services are the starting point for about a third of all new relationships. When it was not possible to meet in person, services were an important way to meet other people online, in the hopes of meeting later, when it was safe to do so. “

Shahzad Younas, founder and CEO of Muzmatch, said he was aware of the concerns some Muslim youth had about vaccines. “Disinformation has spread at an alarming rate in our communities, so we are pleased to work with the NHS to dispel myths about the vaccine and encourage our members to get vaccinated.”

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “I am delighted that we are partnering with dating apps to drive vaccine adoption across the country.”

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