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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Pandemic dating: Your Covid-19 vaccination status is now a determiner for potential match on apps

According to the analysis by dating apps, it is women, in most cases, who are wary of dating those who have not -- or would not -- take the Covid vaccine

Written by Disha Roy Choudhury | New Delhi |
July 12, 2021 12:30:32 pm
online dating, dating appsDriving people towards a 'new normal', the pandemic has changed their attitude towards online dating. (Source: getty images)

If you are looking for a conversation starter with your date, here’s a hint: Covid vaccination. While the usual dating age group still waits to be fully vaccinated amid a shortage of doses, it is at least what they prioritise while choosing a partner on dating apps.

Upon conducting surveys, some of the popular dating apps have found users now are looking at Covid vaccination as a match-determiner — it is a parameter for judging one’s personality apart from being the initial criteria to filter the right swipes. As per dating app OkCupid, there has been a 763 per cent increase in conversations around vaccination between March and June 2021. “Conversations around vaccination are clearly a deal-breaker,” Anukool Kumar, marketing director, OkCupid India, tells indianexpress.com.

Vaccination badge on profiles are expected to increase match rate

To help users find their desired matches, many dating apps have now introduced the ‘I’m vaccinated’ badge that can be added to one’s bio. This way, people can swipe right on a user who has taken the jab. “As of June 2021, 69 per cent men and 71 per cent women [on OkCupid] say they would take the Covid vaccine. Compared to only 15 per cent men and 13 per cent women who admit to being averse to the idea of getting themselves vaccinated,” Kumar shares.

“The badge appears in-profile and is expected to result in a 35 per cent increase in match rate with others who are either vaccinated or getting vaccinated soon,” he adds.

Quack Quack, another dating app, has found similar results — 80 per cent of the users do not prefer going out with someone who is not vaccinated. The vaccine badge the app introduced after about 84 per cent of the daters requested for it, is gradually gaining traction.

“While the vaccination feature on bio is pretty new, we’re seeing the excitement around it. Almost 30 per cent of new users have added this badge to their profile and as more people get vaccinated, we should see this number go up,” Ravi Mittal, founder & CEO, QuackQuack, adds.

Woo, an Indian dating app for women, further confirms based on its analysis that 70 per cent of the users will consider meeting their dates if they are vaccinated. “More than 60 per cent of our users are willing to go on date with someone who has received at least the first dose of the vaccination. Within a month, 19 per cent of our users have already received their vaccination badges and should reach close to 40 per cent by July 15,” states Ritesh Bhatnagar, CMO, Woo.

online dating, pandemic dating Conversations around vaccination are a deal maker or breaker. (Source: getty images/file)

Unlike men, women unwilling to consider ‘anti-vaxxers’

Interestingly, as per the analysis by dating apps, it is women in most cases who are wary of dating those who have not or would not take the Covid vaccine. On Quack Quack, 50 per cent of women say they are not willing to go out with someone who is not vaccinated; they are even ready to decline a profile of their liking based on their vaccination status. On the other hand, 30 per cent men say they can consider dating a non-vaccinated user — “they would like to give a second chance to profiles of their liking”.

According to OkCupid’s finding, over 41 per cent of women say they will not even consider anti-vaxxers; 45 per cent say they can cancel their date if the potential partner is unwilling to get a vaccine shot. However, 69 per cent of men “are very much willing” to date someone who does not take the vaccine.

“The most-asked question on a dating app is regarding vaccination or at least something related to the pandemic,” says Sakshi Jain, a 30-year-old mom from Banaras, who has been using a dating app called Gleeden for a year now. “Finding out about a person’s health, whether they have taken their first jab, etc are some of the things that I usually begin my conversations with,” she adds.

Online vs offline dating

Driving people towards a ‘new normal’, the pandemic has changed their attitude towards dating on the whole. While the first wave still saw some people mustering the guts to go out to meet, it has become a no-no post the second wave and amid the impending third wave. Vaccine or not, daters are now more comfortable meeting and spending time virtually rather than risking infection.

Talking about her primary concerns when it comes to dating, a 32-year-old Bumble user from Noida (who wanted to remain anonymous), tells the outlet, “It has all changed drastically. Earlier, I was very open to going out and meet or party. Right now, the concerns are about whether one is vaccinated or if we could meet at a private place or go for a drive. ‘Any mishap at your place’, ‘hope everybody is fine’, or ‘I hope you haven’t been partying or meeting people’ — these are some of the things one usually asks. I have become very cautious because I have only received the first dose till now. And I don’t prefer going out. After the second wave, I have not met anyone in-person and would prefer it this way unless I am fully vaccinated.”

Quack Quack user Anjali Chauhan, 25, Gurgaon, who met people during the first wave, says she is avoiding it in the second wave while choosing her match very carefully. “People are cautious. They don’t want to go out on a date with someone who is not vaccinated. Many users are becoming aware, availing the vaccine badge on the dating app while also motivating others to get jabbed. When I am looking for a match on the dating app, my priority is that the person should be vaccinated or about to get vaccinated,” she says.

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