Swipe Vax: Dating apps are the new vaccination battleground

People typically turn to dating apps to try love, but a new Swiss-German platform hopes to connect those who refuse to get a COVID-19 shot and are frustrated by European passes that limit activities (including a romantic dinner) for the non-bitters.

The app, called “Impffrei: Love” (“Love without the vaccine”), is said to have registered some 10,000 unvaccinated users between the ages of 20 and 50, who claim to be sick (not literally) from the impact of the pandemic on their personal freedom, reports Berlin magazine Cicero.

Of course, the terms and conditions of the app include a disclaimer that Impffrei:Love assumes no responsibility if you receive COVID from a date. The app may seem like a publicity stunt or just the latest sign of the company’s deep division on the issue.

Love can conquer all, can’t it? Well, when it comes to vaccines, the personal has clearly become political. For some, vaccination status is enough to swipe right or left because it says a lot about someone’s social and political beliefs.

Show your jab status

As vaccination debates unfold in various media, there is a particular twist when it comes to online dating. This algorithm-based form of matchmaking has gained popularity in a time when people cannot meet in person. The apps allow singles to screen potential partners to ensure they are worth the risk of meeting in person. Immunization status has become a key part of a person’s dating profile the same way they can list their interests, education, and what they are looking for in a partner.

On that note, US-based dating apps like Tinder and Bumble now allow users to indicate whether they’ve been vaccinated. In the United States, the initiative was actually launched by the White House with the aim of protecting more people from COVID-19, especially young people with lower vaccination rates.

The UK government has also launched a similar program with vaccine stickers to share vaccination status. More creatively, dating app BLK, which caters to the black community, collaborated with rappers Juvenile, Mannie Fresh and Mia X to release a vaccination anthem called “Vax That Thang Up.”

A larger conversation about health and mating

On a positive note, being open about vaccination is part of a larger discussion about the role dating apps play in disclosing health statuses and removing stigma around sexually transmitted infections. Many apps aimed at the LGBTQ+ community, such as Grindr, are leading the way in allowing users to feel comfortable sharing their testing practices and providing public health information, while also being an outlet for contact tracing.

It has become much more normal in the queer world to share this information.

As Jen Hecht, Senior Director of Building Healthy Online Communities said The conversation“One of the main factors is that you have generations of gay people who lived through the AIDS crisis. It took its toll, but it also became part of their identity. It became much more normal in the queer world to share this information.

Two years into the pandemic, there is still no end in sight. It’s clear that COVID-19 will have lasting effects, on everything from how we work to how we travel, to how – and with whom – we hang out. And my friend.

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