KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — The lifestyle of many couples has been upended ever since Covid-19 turned up, especially with new, highly transmissible and deadlier variants spreading rapidly.
Singles who turned to dating apps to find their love or life partners are adapting to this by adding a new prerequisite to their list of criteria — full vaccination against Covid-19.
Entrepreneur Karthik R. is one of them.
“Every person had a different take on it. Some were okay to get to know someone who isn’t vaccinated while others weren’t comfortable with that. I am the latter type and that is how it will be,” the 34-year-old told Malay Mail.
He conceded that it may sound unusual — after all, no one previously asked their potential date if they’d been vaccinated against chickenpox — and that some may not feel comfortable disclosing their health information to a stranger online, but said he has not wavered on this point on the various dating platforms that he has joined.
“There are two ways to see this; one is that vaccines may prevent you from dying or it may take away life, but it’s better to do something than to not do anything at all.
“So that we can move on with our lives and reconnect with all our close contacts. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” Karthik added.
Jacques Rerolle takes it a notch higher. The 36-year-old YouTuber is adamant that his future life partner must have not only completed Covid-19 vaccination but have received every necessary vaccine against other diseases.
“Life partner is probably one step above date, so I would hope that the both of us have gone for all the available, free and cheaper vaccines. I don’t just mean Covid-19 ones.
“If they were offered a vaccine in the MySejahtera app and they turned it down without good reason, I would take that as a huge red flag. Normally I don’t read red flags well, that’s probably why I’m single, but for real, a major red flag right there,” he said.
For Rerolle, vaccination is not just to protect himself, but those who are too young or too old and frail to be vaccinated.
“I feel that those who don’t want to get vaccinated without a medical reason are selfish and don’t understand the simple concept of vaccinations. Two qualities I would not like in my future girlfriend.
“Also, I want to minimise my chances of getting Covid-19, because I don’t plan to spend two weeks in a quarantine centre without my laptop or camera,” he said.
At the time of writing, Rerolle said he is still anxiously awaiting his vaccination appointment.
Aishah Latifah Aljahsyi Ali said she has received mixed feedback to her Covid-19 vaccination requirement. Some respected her demand, others shared on the dating apps that they were hesitant about getting vaccinated.
She thinks the second group may not be educated enough about vaccination, or may have been influenced by family members with no medical background.
“I was never hesitant on the vaccine, but I did make sure I had all my information before volunteering for the AstraZeneca vaccine early this year.
“Not only for the personal benefits it gives you, but getting vaccinated is for the greater good of the community. It’s selfish to wait and see how others turn out or for your personal beliefs. It’s a huge toll for me, because not only are they selfish, but they didn’t do their research or try to be educated beforehand.
“My partner should share the same beliefs, especially regarding health,” the 21-year-old told Malay Mail.
For Shamita Linganathan, vaccination is the only scientifically proven way for the people to move on from the pandemic.
“Firstly, it’s important for them to be vaccinated as I’d feel safer being around them and wouldn’t have to feel anxious about contracting the disease,” she said.
The 22-year-old said unvaccinated people and those who are anti-vaccine are a deal breaker for her.
“I wouldn’t want to associate myself with individuals who aren’t able to make data driven decisions,” she added.
Shafira Aziz said vaccination is crucial for life-long protection, especially for those who plan to have families of their own.
She said she would never compromise with her life partner on this point, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has driven home how essential vaccinations are as a whole.
“It is 100 per cent necessary for my potential partner to be vaccinated. This is because of the concept of proximity,” the 22-year-old said.
Elaborating, she said that going on dates meant sharing the same space and if they eventually ended up together, engaging in acts of intimacy.
“For instance, if I was vaccinated and my date was not vaccinated, it would be irresponsible for me to link up with him because contraction of Covid-19 is possible and for the unvaccinated individual, their immune system is not as robust as vaccinated people.
“Moreover, if my date was an anti-vaxxer, that would jeopardise our relationship towards one another because our views don’t align and it would affect our compatibility levels.
“Yes, I think it’s important for my life partner to be educated and aware of how essential vaccines are, not just in this modern-day pandemic but as a whole,” Shafira said.
But there are others who are willing to consider dating someone who has yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Tan Jet Koi said Covid-19 vaccination and vaccinations in general are a “plus” and absolute must for him. He feels that it is important for his prospective partners to have vaccination so they can better manage their own health.
“I think vaccination generally is important. It fends off serious diseases and illnesses.
“It may not be a very decisive thing, but it does help to be assured that your prospective partner can handle their own health,” the 21-year-old said.
He pointed out that some people are unable to undergo vaccinations due to existing health issues and not because they don’t want to.
As such, he would not write them off by listing mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as a “requirement” in his potential dates list.