White House Touts Online Dating Plan to Push Covid Vaccine

With a non-zero amount of awkwardness, the Biden administration on Friday highlighted a new plan to encourage more people to get vaccinated: an effort by a number of popular dating apps that will encourage pent-up young singles to promote their vaccination status, as the promise of a maskless summer grows tantalizingly within reach.

“We have finally found the one thing that makes us all more attractive: a vaccination,” Andy Slavitt, one of President Biden’s top coronavirus advisers, deadpanned during a virtual briefing for reporters. He later added, “In all seriousness, people are interested in other things in life besides their vaccine.”

Mr. Slavitt said that popular apps like Tinder, OkCupid, and Hinge — along with a suite of others, including BLK and Chispa, that cater to daters in specific communities — will add new features designed to reach a population of young people who may have been largely isolated from each other during the course of the pandemic, and will promote the idea that getting a shot could help users get a date. Tinder plans to launch a “Vaccine Center” to help users find nearby vaccination sites.

Highlighting the work of technology companies that can reach Americans where they are — on their phones — has been a cornerstone of the Biden administration’s efforts to combat access and hesitancy, and remind people who have not yet received a shot that doing so could help the country emerge from the pandemic. Providers are administering about 1.88 million doses per day on average, about a 44 percent decrease from the peak of 3.38 million reported on April 13, according to federal data.

Earlier this month, the president said that Uber and Lyft, two of the country’s largest ride-sharing services, would provide free rides to vaccination sites beginning May 24 and through July 4.

Mr. Slavitt said on Friday that the dating apps effort, which could reach over 50 million people in the United States, was not an official partnership with the companies. But the White House played a significant role in rallying them to participate, said an administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to comment publicly about the effort.

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