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One-on-One: White House Asst. Press Secretary discusses vaccination outreach through dating apps

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 7:51 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The White House announced it is using dating apps to get more people vaccinated.

FOX 8 spoke one-on-one with White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz about the new initiative.

“We also want to show young people that getting vaccinated is your ticket back to being normal. It could be dating, it could be going back to bars, it could be going to see your family and friends and making sure you’re 100 % safe from this,” said Munoz.

The White House says 59 million Americans ages 18 to 39 have yet to get one dose of the vaccine. It also says 85% of seniors are vaccinated compared to 41% of people in the 18 to 39 age range.

Munoz was asked about what might be driving the low vaccination rates among young adults.

“Look, young adults are busy. We’re working, we’re in school and we really want to make sure that we have the information about why it’s so important to get vaccinated,” Munoz stated.

The Biden administration is partnering with major dating apps including Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble and Badoo, BLK, Chispa, Hinge, Match, and Plenty of Fish.

Munoz also responded to a question about how many young adults the White House hopes to encourage to be vaccinated through dating apps.

“So, there’s approximately 50 million Americans using the apps. I don’t have an exact number. What we do know is that we’re going to continue to use a host of channels to really reach Americans on this and there’s a lot of young people that still want to hear more about the vaccine, get information, but also understand that once you do get vaccinated there’s a whole bunch of things you can do safely including dating,” he said.

The apps are adding all sorts of features to encourage vaccination including badges to allow users to show their vaccination status, and access to free premium content like boosts, super likes, and super swipes for vaccinated individuals.

“There’s very exciting badges. I actually did this with my own dating profile, and it says, I’m vaccinated on Tinder which is great. It’s a cool little badge, but some of the benefits, you could have your profile shown more. There’s some paid engagements that usually the apps have that we’re actually providing for free if you’re able to say that you’re vaccinated and show that,” said Munoz.

According to the White House, research from OKCupid shows people who are vaccinated or plan to be, receive 14% more matches than those who do not plan to get vaccinated.

Munoz stressed the advantages of being vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“And this is another way that we’re conveying to the American people all of the exciting benefits of getting vaccinated. This is our ticket back to normal and it’s never been easier to get vaccinated including partnerships with Uber and LYFT, including paid time off and including all of the exciting things that I know are happening that are uniquely New Orleans,” he said.

Some singles in New Orleans reacted to the dating app campaign.

“Yes, I definitely am in support that. I think that public health is really important and if two people are consenting to put that on their page probably means that they agree about something and that’s always a great place to start,” said Chandler Anthony.

John Gladfelter agreed.

“I guess in terms of apps encouraging people to get vaccinated it’s a good thing. A lot of young people seem to think that the virus won’t affect them, so anything we can do to encourage more and more people to get vaccinated is a good thing,” he said.

Munoz said the White House will continue to look for creative ways to reach more people who are not vaccinated.

“We have sufficient supply to make sure that we can expand and get into this final stretch to hit the president’s goal of 70% of Americans vaccinated by the 4th of July. When we hit 70%, we know that the U.S. can really turn a corner and get back to normal,” he said.

Recently, the CDC issued new guidance on masks for vaccinated Americans.

“I think last week’s guidance was about what vaccinated individuals can do and it provided another sense of clarity through the data, through the evidence that by being vaccinated you are going to be safer than you were before and you’re going to be able to do more normal things, so now is not the time to let our guard up and if you are not vaccinated it has never been easier to get the vaccine,” said Munoz.

Information about where to get vaccinations can be found at Vaccines.gov or by texting your zip code to 438829.

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