New Delhi | Jagran Technology Desk: In order to make the COVID-19 vaccination drive smoother, WhatsApp has come up with a new feature that allows its users to search for vaccination centres in their locality. Whatsapp will employ a 'chatbot' for the same, which has been designed and developed in collaboration with several health partners.

The information was shared by WhatsApp Head - Will Cathcart. Taking to Twitter, he expressed concern over the current COVID-19 situation in India. "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," read Cathcart's tweet.

The chatbot was originally launched earlier this year to help eradicate fake news and spread awareness about COVID-19. In just 10 days, the chatbox had over 1.7 crore users. The chatbot has now been updated to help users in finding the closest vaccination centre available to them.

Here are the steps you can follow to access information on the closest vaccination centre to you:

1. Save +91 9013151515, the official Government of India's Corona Helpdesk number, on your phone.

2. Initiate a chat with the number by simply sending a greeting - Namaste, Hi, or Hello.

3. Within a few seconds, you will get an automated message that will contain emergency contacts and a link to the Aarogya Setu app.

4. Simply respond with your choice on the chat and you will be guided further. Also, the vaccination centre and other vaccine-related information are available at option 1 currently.

At present, India is facing a massive surge in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths related to it. To tackle this, vaccination is considered to be the only major step that could be taken. Vaccine drive for all citizens between the age of 18 and 44 years was started by the Indian government on May 1. However, due to a shortage of vaccines, several states have not yet been able to launch a full-fledged vaccination drive. In light of the above crisis, the WhatsApp chatbot can be a well-timed way to access information on the vaccine and vaccination centres in India for its users.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan