Government plans to use dating apps to promote coronavirus vaccine

The government says it will use ‘every means possible’ to stop the spread of the virus

Saman Javed
Thursday 20 May 2021 16:29 BST
A close-up photo of Apple iPhone screen with icons, includes Tinder and other dating apps
A close-up photo of Apple iPhone screen with icons, includes Tinder and other dating apps

The government has enlisted the help of popular dating apps to promote trust in coronavirus vaccines.

In March, a large-scale UK study by the University of Glasgow and University of Essex found that of all age groups, vaccine hesitancy was the largest amongst those aged 25-34, with 28.3 per cent of young adults saying they wouldn’t take the vaccine.

In a bid to counter this, Downing Street is working with Match Group, which owns popular dating apps, like Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid to advertise the benefits of the vaccine.

The news was first reported by The Telegraph, with a government source telling the publication that the initiative, which is in its early stages, could also see the addition of a new feature on the apps which would signpost users who have had the vaccine with a blue tick or a banner. 

A government spokesperson told The Independent they are unaware of the intention to use a ‘blue tick’ feature but they are working with apps to include adverts. As users swipe through, after a certain number of profiles an advert encouraging the uptake of the vaccine will appear.

“As a responsible government, we use every means possible to help the public to stay safe from coronavirus. 

 “It is vital that people of all ages are aware of what they can do to help stop the spread of coronavirus and social media campaigns play a vital role in delivering that information,” the spokesperson said.

Tinder and other popular dating apps, Bumble and Hinge did not say if they were taking part. Another dating app that is popular amongst Muslims, Muzmatch, confirmed that it is currently in talks with No. 10 about the project.

“As we get to younger people, Tinder and all those apps will be approached to flag the importance of getting vaccinated. It might also give more people impetus to meet up and find love.

“This is being properly looked at. There are ongoing conversations. It would be a decision for platforms to be involved,” a source told The Telegraph.

The government has extended its rollout of the vaccine twice this week due to the increasing risk of the Indian variant.

From today, people aged 34 and 35 will also be offered the jab, the NHS said. The news comes after the rollout was extended to 36 and 37-year-olds on Tuesday.

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