WhatsApp has introduced a new feature in India that will help its users find the Covid-19 vaccination centre nearest to them. The messaging app will make use of a chatbot for the same, developed in collaboration with several health partners that will operate this, and some more of such helplines.
The development was shared recently by WhatsApp head Will Cathcart through a tweet. Expressing concern over the tough times being faced in India, Cathcart announced WhatsApp’s ongoing efforts to support Covid-19 related helplines on WhatsApp for its users.
The functionality has been added under WhatsApp’s MyGov Corona Helpdesk chatbot. To recall, the chatbot was launched early last year as the world faced the Covid-19 pandemic for the first time. Over time, the Facebook-owned chat app has added to its functions, which now includes information on the nearest Covid-19 vaccination centre.
If you wish to access this information, here is how you can use WhatsApp to do so –
– Save the number +91 9013151515 to your contact list. This is the official Government of India’s Corona Helpdesk number.
– Start a chat with the number on WhatsApp by simply sending Hi, Hello or Namaste.
-You will be greeted with an automated response. The message will contain emergency contacts, a link to the Aarogya Setu app, as well as a range of questions that you might have.
– Simply respond with your choice on the chat, and you will be directed further. The vaccination centre and other vaccine-related information is option 1 as of now.
– Note: there is a slight lag of up to 1 minute in receiving the automated responses from the app. So do not be disheartened if you do not get a response right away.
With Covid-19 cases in the country at an all-time peak, vaccination against the novel disease is hailed as the only possible respite. Keeping this in mind, the Indian government kicked off the Covid-19 vaccination drive for citizens between the age of 18 and 44 years on May 1, 2021. Prior to this, the vaccination process was live for everyone above the age of 45 years.
It is hence, suggested to all to get vaccinated against the disease and help flatten the rising curve of Covid-19 in India. Using the WhatsApp chatbot is one of many convenient ways to find information on the vaccine and vaccination centres in India. Other portals that can be of help are the CoWIN portal, Aarogya Setu app, Google Maps and, of course, a simple Google Search.