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Public health officials target vaccine-hesitant via dating apps

Popular apps to show off vaccination status for those looking for love

Call it a "shot at love": Dating apps such as OkCupid will allow users to show off their COVID-19 vaccination status as part of a public health push to promote the vaccine.
Call it a "shot at love": Dating apps such as OkCupid will allow users to show off their COVID-19 vaccination status as part of a public health push to promote the vaccine. (Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images)

The Biden administration is partnering with top dating apps to encourage young and healthy people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid and other popular dating apps will add special vaccination badges and benefits to users’ profiles after they receive the vaccine. For example, any person on Tinder who adds a sticker to their profile promoting the COVID-19 vaccine receives a free “Super Like.” The apps will also provide information about vaccines and help people schedule appointments.

“People who display their vaccination status are 14 percent more likely to get a match. We have finally found the one thing that makes us all more attractive,” said Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior adviser for COVID-19 response.

Dating apps are among the most popular non-gaming apps available and can reach up to 50 million people, administration officials said.

[Republican doctors in Congress try to boost vaccine confidence]

Young people tend to be more reluctant to get the shot compared with the rest of the population, with a quarter of adults ages 18 to 29 saying they want to wait and see how the vaccine works before they get the shot, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Vaccination rates have recently slowed across the country, and more and more states are finding themselves with more shots than arms to put them in. Some governors have resorted to vaccine lotteries to entice residents to get vaccinated.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations plans to hold a hearing Wednesday to examine vaccine hesitancy and ways to build vaccine confidence.

The daily vaccination rate reached its peak in April but has plummeted to about 1.8 million daily doses in recent weeks.

“Concerns among American adults who are less eager to get vaccinated vary, although they tend to cluster geographically or culturally,” House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said in the hearing notice.

Rural residents, white evangelical Christians and young adults ages 18 to 29 tend to indicate more resistance to vaccinations compared with the rest of the U.S. population.

The Biden administration wants at least 70 percent of all Americans to get one shot of the vaccine by July 4. As of Monday afternoon, 61.5 percent of adults 18 and older had received at least one shot, while 49.4 percent of the total population had received one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccine is available for individuals ages 12 and up.

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