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'New Era': Covid-19 vaccination slots can now be booked on WhatsApp

The tie-up among the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, citizen engagement platform MyGovIndia and WhatsApp will enable eligible individuals to get an appointment for a dose of the vaccine via phone.
As part of the nationwide vaccination drive, India has, so far, inoculated about 58.89 crore beneficiaries against the deadly virus. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Aug 24, 2021 11:11 AM IST
Byhindustantimes.com | Written by Ayshee Bhaduri | Edited by Sohini Goswami, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Booking slots for vaccination against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will become easier now as the government partnered with Facebook-owned messaging application WhatsApp for the same.

The tie-up among the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, citizen engagement platform MyGovIndia and WhatsApp will enable eligible individuals to get an appointment for a dose of the vaccine via phone.

Taking to Twitter, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya wrote on Tuesday, “Paving a new era of citizen convenience. Now, book COVID-19 vaccine slots easily on your phone within minutes."

The chief executive officer (CEO) of WhatsApp Inc also put out a similar message. "Today we’re partnering with @MoHFW_INDIA and @mygovindia to enable people to make their vaccine appointments via WhatsApp. Spread the word," Cathcart tweeted.

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Besides booking slots, vaccinated individuals can also download their vaccine certificates through the same mechanism, Cathcart said, adding over three million Indians have already availed the service.

Also Read: Paytm launches Covid-19 vaccine slot booking feature: All you need to know

On August 5, MyGov and WhatsApp had introduced the ability for users to download vaccine certificates from the chatbot; and so far, over 32 lakh certificates have been downloaded by users across the country.

MyGov CEO Abhishek Singh said the new tie-up will enable digital inclusion since WhatsApp is much easier to navigate, and thanked the messaging app for creating the chatbot to help facilitate citizen's access to vaccination.

“MyGov Corona Helpdesk is now also aiding in the process of vaccine booking and finding vaccination centres and slots and downloading vaccination certificates. It is enabling digital inclusion in the true sense as most people find the AI-based interface enabled on WhatsApp easier to navigate. We are thankful to WhatsApp for their continued support in helping us unlock the true potential of this chatbot for citizen help and engagement throughout the trying times of the pandemic," Singh, who also heads the government’s Digital India Corporation (DIC), was quoted as saying by Mint.

To book slots on WhatsApp, one has follow these below-mentioned steps:

  1. Save the MyGov Corona Helpdesk number (9013151515) as a contact
  2. Send 'Book Slot' request to this number on WhatsApp
  3. Enter the 6-digit OTP one will receive via SMS
  4. While in the chat, one has to choose their preferred date and location, pin code, and vaccine type.
  5. Get a confirmation and visit the vaccination centre on the day of their appointment

Vaccine slots were so far being booked via the government-owned Co-WIN Portal or Arogya Setu/Umang Mobile Application and the Paytm App. Alternatively, one can get registered for a shot on-site at the vaccination centre.

As part of the nationwide vaccination drive, India has, so far, inoculated about 58.89 crore beneficiaries against the deadly virus.

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