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Opinion

Government plans WhatsApp chatbot for Covid-19 vaccine inquiries

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The government plans to launch a WhatsApp chatbot to address inquiries about the Covid-19 vaccination, people familiar with the matter said. Queries can be sent to the number 9013151515 with the message “say vaccine,” they added. The project is in the pilot stage and is being used to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) about vaccination.

Once the chatbot is fully developed and launched, people will be able to get information about the closest places where they can be vaccinated, the number of doses and when they should be administered.

“The algorithms are done. We are only identifying the maximum number of possible inquiries before launch, ”said an official.

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India’s Comptroller General of Drugs announced on Sunday that it approved Covaxin, Bharat Biotech International Limited’s locally developed vaccine for Covid-19, and the University of Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India. The immunization rollout will begin with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Center has faced criticism for deploying Covaxin prematurely without completing its phase III trials.

According to the chatbot’s FAQ section, the vaccine will be introduced into the country only after “regulatory bodies authorize it based on its safety and efficacy.”

The 13-page document addresses key questions, including who will get the vaccine first, whether those who have recovered from Covid-19 need the vaccine, and how vaccines are chosen for administration. Underlines that vaccination is mandatory.

“Once the chatbot is fully functional, it will link to the Co-WIN app and will be able to provide real-time data,” the official quoted above said.

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