As cold weather descended upon Washington, D.C., last fall, I deleted my dating apps.
I had tried a few video-chat dates when the pandemic was new last spring. They were fun and novel at the time, and felt like a “quarantine experience.” By summer, I went on several physically distant dates in the park.
But once the temperature started dropping, meeting outside lost its appeal. First dates are awkward enough without shivering as your breath freezes to your mask, all while trying to uncover the title of someone’s favorite book. So I bailed.
Something happened recently, though, that made me return to the dating app world. A local website published an article about people announcing their vaccination status in dating app profiles. Other news outlets followed. I had to see it with my own eyes.
So, I redownloaded my favorite apps: Hinge, Bumble and Tinder. I disclosed in my bio that I was a journalist working on a story about people announcing their vaccination status in dating profiles. Then, I spent the next three hours madly swiping.
Lo and behold, I found several 20- and 30-somethings proudly displaying their vaccine status. One wrote at the top of his profile, “I got both doses of the Pfizer, Covid vaccine!” Another said, “im covid19 free got vaccinated too.”
I messaged them all. Noel, a nurse who lives in the D.C. area, got back to me. He said he put “COVID vaccinated” in his bio as a statement for what he stands for. (KHN is not identifying Noel by his last name because he’s concerned about being identified by his employer.)
“I take very seriously the responsibility to care for myself in order to keep others safe,” he wrote. Noel, who has received both vaccine doses already, said his status announcement has gotten him only positive responses so far. Some people even seemed reassured by it.
It made me wonder: Should this declaration give people the peace of mind to start increasing the frequency of in-person dates? When considering whether to meet up with someone who is vaccinated versus unvaccinated, vaccinated does sound safer. It even initially gave me a spark of hope. But should it?
I polled a few friends who use dating apps. They told me they had indeed spotted the same trend. One who lives in Los Angeles is even going on a FaceTime date with a guy who had “PS I’m vaccinated” in his Hinge bio. She still opted for a video chat, though. “Can’t they still be carriers even if they’re vaccinated?” she texted me.