Status: Single and vaccinated
Little did Ritvik Verma, a Delhi-based professional from hospitality sector, know that adding ‘partially vaccinated’ to his online dating bio would serve as the perfect conversation-starter in the present scenario. Verma who got his first dose of vaccination in mid-May and decided to add to his bio for the ‘coolness’ factor.
“I recently downloaded the dating app and kept thinking, that what would make my profile stand apart and also fetch some right swipes. And I thought this would be super cool because honestly I would want my prospective date to be vaccinated too, if we ever meet in future,” he says.
Similar to Verma,several youngsters in the city are looking forward to add ‘got my first jab’, ‘partially vaccinated’ to their online dating bio to get swiped right. Also, to encourage the vaccination drive in the United States, the Joe Biden administration announced teaming up with dating apps that include incentives such as badges showing vaccination status and free access to premium content.
Millennials and GenZ believe that it also reflects the choices of your potential partner in the times of ‘vacci-dating’. “I’d prefer to go on a date with someone who is fully vaccinated because that shows the person is taking precaution,” says Atharv Kapoor, a 29-year-old student.
Some also feel that it’s easier to socialise not fearing that you may be risking yourself or your family and friends at home by going out. Karan Nandal, 29, an MBA aspirant says, “You don’t really know the person and where they are coming from or to what degree they have been or are careful, and dating apps have also pivoted with the pandemic.
For others, it’s a matter of safety to bring it up during conversations. Ankita Arora, 24, acquisition manager says, “I think I will feel a lot safer if I know the other person is vaccinated. I might not include that in my bio but I will definitely bring it up in my conversation. I don’t think I will be comfortable meeting someone who isn’t vaccinated yet.”
Another dating app user, Saksham, 28, analyst- finance opines that adding status of vaccination would be better closer to unlock phases as he says, “I’d may be add after I would be ready to meet people or when it would be safe to go out.”
And some pin their hope on the dating apps to introduce a new feature to show the status. Sahej Narula, 21, a store manager, says, “It’s better to have vaccination feature on apps so that we know beforehand. And, vaccinated or not, I’d maintain distance, avoid clicking photos together or hugging when on a date after the lockdown eases.”
It’s not only the users making safety as the top priority amid the pandemic, relationship experts also emphasise on how the dating culture has transformed during the pandemic. Relationship coach, Ekta Dixit says, “Online dating culture has changed over the last year. Compatibility has become a second factor, first is to not play the unsafety game. So, getting a jab has become one of the biggest factors and a priority today. For the young, displaying it on the app has become the badge of pride. Moreover, psychologically, it makes one perceive as a responsible, reliable citizen in nature.”
However, according to Dr DS Gambhir, getting vaccinated doesn’t mean you’re 100% safe. “You still have chances of getting Covid, but the severity of the infection is lesser.
He also suggests that should not forget basic safety protocols while going out to meet friends or on a date once the restrictions are eased. He adds, “Some of the necessary measures one need to follow still include — social distancing and preferably wearing double masks. Don’t shake hands and also keep washing and sanitising them frequently.”