The Government is now trying to make vaccination sexy
There are many things that people look for in a partner: intelligence, a sense of humour, looks, and, if the Government gets their way, confirmation of Covid vaccination status.
Given the increasingly bizarre turns in the Covid debate, it is perhaps not surprising that the Government recently announced a partnership with several dating apps, including Bumble, Match and Hinge. As part of the plans, users will not only be encouraged to get vaccinated, but also to self-report and show off their vaccination status to others.
The self-declared vaccinated members will have “vaccination badges and stickers to display on dating profiles” along with incentives such as “free ‘super likes’ and other boost-type features.”
Considering that for many months, sex was not only forbidden, but legally prohibited for many single people and non-cohabiting couples, perhaps we should be reassured that the Government has finally recognised the human need for intimacy.
And if you’re not put off by the oddly infantilising concept of adding stickers to a dating profile, and incentives — “super likes” — for undergoing a medical treatment, some might argue that adding vaccine status tags to a bio simply represents an easy way of communicating who has had the jab and who hasn’t.
But given the concerns over increasing STI rates and the very real impact they can have on fertility (particularly when they go unchecked), it seems odd to single out Covid vaccinations for that mantle. For those in favour of medical information on dating bios, where are the stickers or incentives for sharing one’s STI status? That is surely something of more relevance than Covid on a dating app? Chlamydia free since 2003!
More importantly, is there not something quite chilling about the way in which people are being reduced down to their Covid status? The vaccinated versus the unvaccinated. It’s not even limited to dating apps: on the London tube, passengers are now treated to various Government adverts adorned with young smiling faces, telling users to ‘show off their vaccination status’ (see image below).
People are, of course, welcome to present whatever information they want to on a dating app — bios are full of “1/2 jabbed Pfizer” and “vaccinated x2” — but both dating apps and the Government actively condoning discrimination against users by vaccination status is starting to feel like overreach. After all, the idea that it is not just condoned, but encouraged, to prioritise a single aspect of health status when looking for a partner is an unnerving illustration of quite how much Covid has been focused on, to the exclusion of all else.
Amy Jones is an anonymous doctor working in the NHS, who has a background in Philosophy & Bioethics. You can follow her on Twitter at @skepticalzebra