As the government continues to push its vaccination programme across the UK, millions of young people aged over 18 are heading to centres to get their first Covid-19 jab. With lockdown and dating app fatigue, single Brits are finding romance in the most unlikely spot to break that dating drought.
Picture this: a room full of people within your age range, within your acceptable five-mile radius, who share a similar political ethos in that you have both opted to have the vaccine. Then you sit in the waiting room 15 minutes post-immunisation with time to kill: a magical window to shoot your shot.
This was the golden opportunity for 22-year-old Orla, an art student from London, who capitalised on the Bank Holiday vaccination drive at Twickenham stadium, which offered jabs to everyone over 18. “Me and a couple of friends hopped in a cab as soon as we heard about it,” she says. “People were literally jumping out of taxis in the middle of the road to join the queue,” adding that she realised that everyone in the queue was 25, young, good looking and pro vaccine. “I was with two of my friends who are both in a relationship and they told me to download Tinder and set it to a one mile radius.”
A far cry from the clinical and regimented setting in the stadium, young people stood outside drinking and listening to music. “Of course if you’re single, the best thing you can do at this moment is to go on Tinder.” The atmosphere was more reminiscent of a “match day” special, Orla adds.
“It was quite fun being there, watching hot people queue up,” she continues. “If you match with them on Tinder, there’s a guaranteed conversation starter: asking them if they’ve been vaxxed.” They seem more attractive if they’ve had their vaccine already, Orla adds. But the serendipitous moment was not meant to be, as vaccines ran out before she could make her move.
A new survey reveals that 56 per cent of 18 – 34 year olds are excited to get back into dating again, and with the government announcing the availability to have a vaccination – and teaming up with dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, there really is no time like the present.
With the first vaccination providing the warm up for all those Covid pick up lines and the second jab to turn the practice into reality to score the date, there’s plenty of time to cuff this summer.
Ben, 32, from Hampshire, saw a particular girl who caught his eye. “She had grey eyes and long, golden hair,” he says. “I was daydreaming about what the bottom half of her face looked like, as you can’t tell under a mask.”
*Anna, 22, a stylist from Saudi Arabia, says she spotted “a hot guy” while waiting for her vaccination. “He was wearing sneakers, Air Jordans, sweatpants and a hoodie,” she says. “Everyone else was dressed formally, so he stood out.” Sat opposite him, she fell in love with “his buzz cut and really long eyelashes.” However, her plans to make her move were thwarted as she was cockblocked by her mother who accompanied her to the appointment.
Grace from Dorset also had the same issue. The 22-year-old received her vaccine when 30-year-olds were called up, as she lives with people who are shielding. “It worked out well because older people are quite cute and my type anyway,” she says. “In the waiting room, everyone was looking at their phones but trying to look around slyly at the same time, sussing out their options. The second time I went with my brother, which prevented any flirting on my behalf – plus he had a panic attack.”
Falling for medical staff administering the antibodies is also a reality. Jenny*, 38, from London, explains that while she is married and had no intention to meet anyone, she couldn’t help but eye up her nurse. “He was very handsome,” she says. “He asked me to stay there for 15 minutes so he could check for any side effects. Instead, I ended up staying for half an hour. If I was single, I could have asked for a date.”
So could vaccination centres around the world be the new meet-cutes? Only time will tell if it really could be love at first jab. If TikTok is anything to go by, the answer is yes, with a slew of creators speaking out about finding love at vaccine centres. Either way, it would make a great wedding speech.