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I have unfollowed a bunch of people on Instagram over lockdown. Sure, some of them were just annoying, and others I just haven’t interacted with in ages. But the main ditches were the people that had opposing views on the pandemic and vaccinations – not because I can’t handle an opinion that isn’t the same as mine – but because I can’t handle people that mindlessly share bullsh*t.

It’s become pretty apparent that Instagram has moved away from just selfies and bikini shots, allied waste services and become another way we ingest news, and share our views on the world. So it wasn’t surprising, as I was absentmindedly swiping last week, to see the first trickle of COVID-19 vaccine flexes making its way onto shared profile snaps from dating apps. And why wouldn’t they?

Just like you’d share your personality traits – pet-lover, want kids, vegan, whatever – knowing whether someone is or isn’t in to getting a vaccine can be a huge deciding factor when it comes to dating. And that’s something that the team behind women-first dating app Bumble have realised, too.

From this week through to the end of the year, Bumble will enable people in Australia and New Zealand to add a “vaccinated” badge to their profile. The choice comes, reportedly, from the finding that there has been 45% increase in users asking potential dates if they have had the vaccine.

“With nearly half of Australia in lockdown or under restrictions, we are encouraging all our users to date virtually using our Voice Call and Video Chat features within Bumble. Despite these changes, we know our community is still open to finding love and that many relationships blossomed off the back of virtual dating in lockdown last year. As the vaccine rollout ramps up through the rest of the year, and as we eventually return to IRL dating, we hope that the new ‘vaccinated’ badge and other features will allow our users to easily communicate their dating preferences and feel comfortable and safe on dates,” explains Lucille McCart, Bumble’s APAC Communications Director.

Bumble already offers a COVID Preferences Center within the app which allows the Bumble community across the globe to indicate what kind of dates they feel comfortable going on – whether virtual, socially distanced, or socially distanced with a mask. The addition of the vaccination badge feature will sit as part of that.

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