For Tatiana Swedek, the revelation came on a second date in September: the man she was seeing was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
He told her he just didn’t take the time to make an appointment, she said.
A few days later, after going with him to get his first injection, she called it off with a lengthy text message, which included her sincere hope that he would come back for his second dose.
Now, she said she screens all of her potential dates in advance, asking them directly if they are fully vaccinated. For her, she says, the seemingly simple question says a lot.
“Are they empathetic towards others? Do they not only care about their own health and life, but also about other people who may have weakened immune systems? said the 28-year-old Fishtown resident. “If you’re not going to do this for yourself or for others, we don’t really have the same values.”
As society adjusts to life with COVID-19, vaccination status – as well as attitudes towards the pandemic in general – has become a common deal breaker. But not as much for reasons of personal safety or risk as before. According to matchmakers, dating coaches, and everyday people like Swedek, vaccination status can determine moral compatibility.
“The majority of our clients are vaccinated and keen to date someone who is also vaccinated,” said Erika Kaplan, vice president of memberships for matchmaking service Three Day Rule, which works with hundreds of Philadelphia singles. . “It’s less about fear and risk of getting COVID, but more about someone who shares their values around science.”
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Nationwide, about 41% of people who are dating say they wouldn’t consider dating someone who isn’t vaccinated, while just over half say it wouldn’t have been. important to them, according to a Pew Research poll released in early April. Only 2% say they would only date someone who was not vaccinated.
But in a city like Philadelphia, where 70% of residents are fully vaccinated, chances are a larger percentage of singles only want to date someone who is vaccinated, Kaplan said.
Meanwhile, across the region, including suburban Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the importance of vaccination status differs by age, said matchmaker and dating coach Kristi D. Price, who also has customers in Florida.
About half of his clients in their 20s and 30s are vaccinated, Price said, with some demanding it of potential mates and others having a more laissez-faire attitude. Meanwhile, nearly all of her clients over 40 have gotten their shots, she said, and they want them in a game too.
“A lot of my clients think that if someone isn’t vaccinated, they’re doing a disservice to society,” she said.
Julie Omole, owner of Eli Simone, a matchmaking service primarily for black women in the Mid-Atlantic and South, said the majority of her clients are vaccinated and want to date someone who is also immune.
“It’s now become more of a political leaning than anything else,” she said. “It’s a bit like [someone] saying, “I’m a Republican,” when you’re trying to date a Democrat.
Sometimes the shared values around COVID-19 vaccination and precautions can actually be the spark that ignites a romance.
That’s what happened to Brian Sparks and Amy Beal, both 37, after their match on the Hinge app in late 2020.
“I actually think in his dating profile he said something like, ‘You should take this pandemic seriously,'” Beal said. “I was like, ‘1. He’s cute and 2. Yeah! I like that.'”
“It was pretty awesome,” she laughed.
Concern over COVID-19 was of particular importance to Beal, who has a medical condition that could make her more vulnerable to complications from the virus.
When vaccines became available a few months into their relationship, Beal was able to get vaccinated early due to his medical condition, while Sparks drove four hours to western Pennsylvania to get vaccinated as soon as he was eligible.
Now the couple – he product manager for Virtex and she office manager for Aramark – travel the country together while working remotely.
They are happy, they say, to have waited to meet someone who shares the same values as them.
“Neither of us was interested in meeting someone who didn’t take it seriously,” Sparks said. “We saw it as a kind of duty of citizenship, to take care of your fellow man. Anyone who didn’t have the empathy to do their part to end the pandemic revealed such a character flaw that we just weren’t interested.