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NEW DELHI: Dating app Tinder has launched a vaccine advocacy initiative in India as part of which it will share educational guides and enable members to display stickers and express their vaccination status and sentiment on their profile.

The in-app guide will answer questions on when it is safe to go out and whether contracting covid even after taking a shot is possible, along with interactive quizzes. Also in the works is a vaccine centre that will provide access to resources from the World Health Organisation and the CoWIN app so members can lean on government-approved vaccine information and book an appointment at their nearest vaccination site.

Members can display their vaccination status and advocate for their potential matches to get vaccinated by adding interactive stickers from the vaccine centre to their profile. Stickers include “Vaccinated," “Vaxing Soon," “Immunity Together," and “Vaccines Save Lives," the company said in a statement.

“The pandemic really pushed our members to get creative to make new connections. Vaccinations have become a popular talking point on Tinder and mentions of ‘vaccine’ in member bios went up by 42 times in India in May 2021 - an all-time high - compared to when the pandemic first began," Taru Kapoor, general manager Tinder and Match Group India said in a statement.

“As India’s vaccination drive gains momentum, we want to extend support and encouragement for our members to be better equipped to find their way back into IRL (in real life) dating when it becomes a possibility," Kapoor added.

To be sure, dating app users in India have said they are likely to see virtual connections take precedence this year despite the rollout of vaccines and easing of restrictions. A recent survey by Bumble said 40% of single Indians will opt for virtual dating in 2021, as people now look for a large degree of trust and meaningful chats before meeting in person.

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