How to use the MyGov WhatsApp chatbot to locate the nearest vaccination center
As the second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to spread unchecked in the country, social distancing while wearing masks and swift vaccinations are the best way forward, according to experts. On May 1, a handful of state governments began vaccinations for citizens between the ages of 18 and 44 – which makes up a large chunk of the country's population.
On Sunday, WhatsApp head Will Cathcart tweeted in solidarity with Indians who were suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic, while adding that the chat service was working with health partners to operate helplines in the form of chatbots on the app. One of these chatbots is the MyGov Corona Helpdesk chatbot, which was launched early last year and recently crossed 30 million users. Thh service has now been updated to help you find a vaccination center.
I am thinking of our friends in India going through such a difficult time with COVID and grateful for all the work people are doing to help one another. We're working with health partners to support helplines on WA like this one from @mygovindia https://t.co/pqE0VGHQbK https://t.co/uhmyEN5U7f— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) May 1, 2021
In order to use the MyGov Corona Helpdesk chatbot, users need to save the number +919013151515 to their contacts and then start a chat by typing “Namaste” (hello or hi also works) and wait a few moments for the chatbot to respond. The response is automated and the chatbot will ask users for their PIN code. Once a user enters the six-digit code and hits the send button, the chatbot will respond with a list of vaccination centers near them.
If users do not want to save the contact number of the chatbot, they can also visit wa.me/919013151515 which will take them directly to the chatbot. While it is important to keep in mind that you cannot ask a chatbot real questions, it can provide helpful information that it has been programmed to offer users. This can come in handy when you just need basic information like the nearest center quickly and do not want to wait in queue for regular phone helplines to be available.