Dating apps were designed to offer you a preview into a potential romance's life. A well-crafted bio can clue you into what a possible match likes to eat, their hobbies, and what they do for work — all things that can help you decide whether or not this is someone you can see yourself with for real. And as we enter the second summer of the COVID-19 pandemic, dating apps are giving us a glimpse into something even more important than all that: coronavirus vaccination status.
That's right — dating app members have begun to use their bio pages to divulge whether or not they've received their COVID-19 vaccine. Some opt for a straight-forward "I'm vaccinated," while others go for the more playful, "I've got all my shots," perhaps adding an emoji syringe or two. It's a full-fledged trend: Tinder's Future of Dating report found an eightfold increase in the word "vaccine" and a 20-fold increase in the word "antibodies" in member bios since the start of the pandemic.
Online dating platform OKCupid is going a step further, having recently added, "Will you get the COVID-19 vaccine?" to the series of questions they ask their users that help them calculate compatibility with potential suitors. It was a smart move: Those who responded "yes" to that query ended up receiving 20% more likes and 12% more matches than those who said no. “Basically, getting the vaccine is the hottest thing you could be doing on a dating app right now,” OkCupid spokesperson Michael Kaye told The New York Times.
Adding in your vaccination status may be a sly way to establish a common ground with like-minded people on the apps, says Tennesha Wood, dating coach and founder of The Broom List, a matchmaking firm for Black professionals. It's not so different from displaying your political party or your relationship with drugs and alcohol on your bio. When you're swiping on the apps and you come across someone's vaccine status — or, perhaps, their anti-vaccine standpoint — Wood says you can ask yourself, "Is this person thinking about health and safety in the same way that I am?"
She also says that having vaccine statuses be readily available to others may soothe the nerves of a health-conscious swiper. "I think that the biggest thing that it really helps to alleviate is the fear of dating again, where people who haven't really dated during the pandemic are now anxious and scared of getting back out there," Wood explains. Meeting someone new carries some risk, but we know from a recent study that vaccinated people are far less at risk for transmitting COVID-19.
"I think it's helpful to know who's been vaccinated," says Taylor, 27. While she tells Refinery29 that she won't be putting her personal status in her bio anytime soon, it's something Taylor does plan on talking to potential suitors about. "If I decide I like someone enough to meet up with them, we can talk about our vaccine status, then consider making plans if we're both vaccinated," she explains. Of course, if your dating app match refuses to talk about the vaccine or whether or not they've been following COVID precautions, that may be a larger issue entirely, Wood warns.
Hopefully, someday soon we won't feel the need to display our vaccine statuses in our dating bios. This will all be a forgotten trend, a nostalgic memory of a bygone era. But for now, we can expect the vaccine puns and prompts to continue — and for "So, did you have side effects after your second dose?" to supplant "So, how many siblings do you have?" as the first date question we're the most sick of answering.