Bon Jovi’s ‘Shot through the heart’ is going to get a new meaning thanks to dating apps and the COVID-19 vaccine drive. Countries are coming up with different ways to coax people into getting the COVID-19 vaccine and dating apps seem to be leading the way.
Multiple dating apps including Tinder, Hinge and Bumble have rolled out updates as more and more people are getting vaccinated around the world. The apps will allow users to show whether they have been vaccinated or not.
That’s not all, users will also get some perks from these dating apps. This comes after a YouGov poll revealed that 2/3rd of adults in the UK want to date someone who has been vaccinated. The UK Govt has also partnered with Match Group (which owns many of the dating apps). Alexandre Lubot, CEO of the Match Group said: “An important part of returning to normal is helping people feel safe as they connect in person. A unified push towards more vaccinations will allow people to once again meet in person and connect in meaningful ways”
It’s not just in the UK though. Tinder users in the US can add pro-vaccine stickers and will receive a ‘super like’ for the same. Bumble is promising users who use the app for free heavy discounts on its premium services.
Dating apps have been actively trying to update their features in the pandemic. Governments and companies across the world are joining in the vaccine perks business.
A marijuana dispensary in Michigan, US has announced a ‘pots for shots’ scheme. The company is giving away free marijuana joints to customers who get vaccinated. It has given away 35,000 joints so far. A brewery in New Jersey, US announced back in May that those who get vaccinated will get a free beer in any of the 16 locations the brewery is present in.
In May, New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo announced the ‘vax and scratch’ programme where individuals had the chance to win $5 million dollars. People getting vaccinated at certain centres were getting free $20 scratch-off lottery tickets. Governor Cuomo had said. “We know that vaccinations are the vital piece of the puzzle we need to crush COVID once and for all. We’re doing everything we can to make getting a vaccine as quick and easy as possible, but as vaccination rates slow across the state, we’re going to have to get creative to put even more shots in arms. This new pilot program will offer a greater incentive for New Yorkers to get vaccinated by offering a free scratch-off ticket for a chance to win up to $5 million. The more New Yorkers we can get vaccinated, the better our situation and the faster we can return to a new normal, so I encourage everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet to go to your nearest site and get the shot”
May was certainly an eventful month in the US because the White House partnered with dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, Match, Bumble, and Badoo to encourage more people to get vaccinated. The White House said in a statement that “According to research from OKCupid, people who are vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated receive 14% more matches than people who don’t plan to get vaccinated”.
Elsewhere in the world, Dubai is offering gym memberships to people who get vaccinated. With many being frustrated with the closure of gyms in the lockdown, this might actually motivate people to get the jab.
While western nations focus on single people to boost the vaccination rate, an Indian city on the country’s west coast came up with the brilliant idea of tapping into Indians’ love for gold. Some goldsmiths came together in Rajkot to give vaccinated women free gold nose pins and a hand blender to vaccinated men.
Do the incentives work?
It’s too early to know if the incentives have made any difference. Remember, many scientists have said that people might need booster shots in the future. If people are getting vaccinated purely because of the incentives then they may no longer be interested in getting the booster shot. The slow but more solid approach will be education around the vaccine and addressing the fears of those hesitant to get the vaccine.