Now Find COVID Vaccine Slots Via WhatsApp

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New Delhi: To ease the process for vaccination and locate the nearest locations, a new feature has been introduced by the government of India. It will help the citizens to find the Covid-19 vaccination centre nearest to them using the popular messaging app WhatsApp.

The WhatsApp chatbot- MyGov Corona Helpdesk, launched by the government of India, helps people to find vaccination centres nearer to them.

Here’s how one can locate the nearest vaccination location on WhatsApp:

Any user who has installed the WhatsApp application can access the chatbot. First, save the number +91-9013151515 on your phone’s contact list.

Once the number is saved, open WhatsApp and look for the contact.

The user can send texts like ‘Namaste’, ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ on this number which will further generate an automated response.The message will have many options for users to select including some basic details, contact details, a link to the Aarogya Setup app, and language support changes among others. For Vaccination details – the user has to reply with a text ‘1’, to which the chatbox responds with seeking more response from the user.

The chatbot will give the user two options to select and this will include information related to centres along with authentic information related to Covid-19 vaccines.

If a user responds with option ‘1’, the chatbot will be asking for a 6 digit postal PIN code. Once the user enters his six-digit 6-digit postal PIN code, the chatbot will respond with a list of centres closest to the user and the date informing when vaccination will be available at that particular centre, along with slot details.

The service developed in collaboration with AI platform Haptik, was rolled out last year for sharing authentic information, is now being used to provide Covid-19 related helplines on WhatsApp for Indian users.

The WhatsApp chatbot will provide a link to the CoWIN portal where users can register themselves or sign in for vaccination. The users will have to book an appointment through the CoWIN portal only.

Notably, the vaccination drive was kicked off in January with healthcare workers and frontline workers getting inoculated first. It was followed by the second phase in which senior citizens (above 60 years of age) and people aged 45 or older with comorbidities were eligible. The government then rolled out the third phase of its vaccination drive from April 1.

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