There are a lot of things in this world that are deemed “sexy”, I’d list some but each very much to their own on that one; although I’m sure we can all agree Jason Momoa is pretty sexy. But, that long haired god aside, you know what isn’t sexy? Vaccinations.
Now I might be able to fathom this sort of ridiculum from the US government, but when the UK is set to follow suit, I just had to vent my spleen. What have they done this time I hear you ask. Well…
The US government has partnered with various dating apps, the likes of Tinder, Hinge, Match, Bumble, OkCupid and many more in some futile attempt to encourage young people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. As if literally dying or killing your gran wasn’t a big enough incentive, making sure any potential love interests are vaccinated is definitely priority numero uno.
Here is a message to any governments doing or considering this: young people aren’t idiots that just want a shag (although, disclaimer, I’m sure some of them are).
Young people, on the whole, are incredibly, if not probably more aware of the effects of Covid-19/climate change/racism/any remotely current topic, than your average person because not only are they bombarded with it on a daily basis via social media, but they have a tendency to do their own research rather than just blindly believing whatever they see online.
It’s in the same vein as those new ‘eat them to defeat them’ adverts on TV, that are supposed to encourage kids to eat vegetables. Vegetables aren’t some evil force to be combatted, and whilst this might be appealing for some children, the thought of sentient broccoli fighting back, or being able to feel pain, might not go down too well with some youngsters.
I just hate the fact that Covid has become such an ordinary part of everyday life, big tech now feels the need/opportunity to incorporate it into our courtship rituals. “Being vaccinated against the coronavirus could get you more right swipes.” Fourteen per cent more apparently. You might also get 14% more unsolicited d*ck pics in your inbox, you lucky thing.
But when you see the likes of Andy Slavitt (a US healthcare advisor) addressing the nation, blindly reeling off the names of dating apps like some sort of advert, during an issue as globally contentious as Covid-19, it makes you wonder if you’ve woken up in some sort of parallel universe.
After such a serious and stoic approach, watching government officials slap on a happy face and use dating apps like some sort of cheap propaganda just seems mental to me. We should be handling this like adults, not have the government openly endorsing dating apps. What’s next? Get your vaccine and you’ll get a free Match.com subscription?
But this whole government getting into bed with the dating apps thing, only serves to cement the somewhat seedy relationship between governments and big tech. How on Earth has something as critical as this pandemic, been reduced down to ‘list your vaccine status and get more swipes.’
Being vaccinated is probably advantageous to pandemic dating, but will a vaccine suddenly grant you a personality or model-esque looks? Why do people need extra incentives to get a potentially lifesaving vaccine? Surely protecting yourself and others from the virus is incentive enough?
And yes, dating/meeting new people has been more difficult over the last year, but so has literally everything. We’ve long understood the necessity for reproductive hygiene, but to tune into people’s carnality in a way of somehow connecting it to a Coronavirus programme and a government backed use of dating apps?
I know we want to encourage as many people to get vaccinated as possible, but at a time where half the populous think a vaccine is highly important and necessary and the other half are finding it difficult to accept – whether that be due to a lack of time, lack of testing, or lack of trust in the government – they aren’t going to be convinced by some gimmick which, if anything, will only serve to polarise people more with its sheer weirdness.
This editorial originally appeared in the Data Centre Review Newsletter, June 4 2021. To ensure you receive these editorials direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.