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I had tried a few video-chat dates when the pandemic was new last spring. But once the temperature started dropping, meeting outside lost its appeal. So I bailed.
On vacci-dating: singles seem enamored of sharing vaccination status online
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.
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Then, I spent the next three hours madly swiping. Lo and behold, I found several and somethings proudly displaying their vaccine status. I messaged them all. Noel, a nurse who lives in the D. 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.
She still opted for a video chat, though. The next day, I called Dr. Leana Wenan emergency room physician, public health expert and visiting professor at George Washington University. I asked her what those of us who might be swiping on the apps should think if we come across someone who advertises that they have been vaccinated.
They may still be able to infect you even if they are safe from coronavirus themselves. Have you shared your vaccination status on social media or dating app?
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And research is pending on how great the risk is that those who are vaccinated can carry the virus and pass it on to others. But questions remain about transmissibility.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those who are vaccinated continue to wear masks and maintain physical distance as the vaccine rollout proceeds. The available vaccines appear to be less effective against the variants, another reason for people to be vigilant. If both unvaccinated people eventually want to meet indoors, she added, and they both live alone, they could. But it is not exactly a romantic process.
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They could quarantine for several days. There is one silver lining, though, said Wen. She believes if two people are vaccinated they can safely get together. Wen issued this advice, she said, with the assumption that both people are trying to mitigate their COVID transmission risk by wearing masks in public, washing hands, minimizing social circles and not frequenting indoor spaces. But, never fear.
While vaccines were initially limited to health care workers, long-term care facility residents and those 65 and older, eligibility in some states are widening to include other essential workers and people with underlying medical conditions. It also seems possible that dating app companies may eventually roll out a feature to select or highlight your vaccination status in your profile, rather than having to write it in the bio, said Jennifer Reicha sociology professor at the University of Colorado-Denver, who studies vaccine attitudes.
KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.
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