June,11, 2021: Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s WhatsApp chatbot for vaccination registration and slot booking has crossed the milestone of nearly 73000 users since its launch on May 15. With a determination to increase vaccination registration and streamline the process of slot bookings across the city, this WhatsApp API based helpline was launched in May as a free to use service for citizens of Kolkata. It was inaugurated and rolled out by Mr. Firhad Hakim Hon’ble Chairperson Board of Administrator, KMC.

The chatbot has nearly 81,00,000 conversations generated from users across Kolkata. The chatbot started off by providing vaccine slots at 3 centres in the city and has scaled up to 90 centres in Kolkata and across the 6 districts of Cooch Behar,  Burdwan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Alipurduar and South 24 Parganas, since its launch. After a successful vaccination drive for the second dose through its WhatsApp chatbot, the slots were opened for first dose vaccination for people who are 45+years. KMC’s WhatsApp chatbot has helped smoothen the vaccine appointment booking process and reduced waiting time for citizens at vaccination centres. Drive-In Vaccination was also introduced through this WhatsApp Bot to felicitate vaccination in four-wheeler only, helping many aged and ailing citizens

Mr. Binod Kumar, Municipal Commissioner of Kolkata Municipal Corporation said, “The response from people of Kolkata to the vaccine drives across the city has been very positive and encouraging. As we scale up the vaccine drives, it is important for us to streamline the process to avoid crowding at vaccination centres. Our WhatsApp chatbot is a great communication tool that is reducing the tech barrier to booking a slot. We are grateful to WhatsApp for working with us to develop this solution for the benefit of our citizens.”

Dr. Abhishek Roy, Head SeMT West Bengal Govt. said, “WhatsApp bots have become a very useful tool for e-Governance in the State. It will be expanded to many other e-Governance applications of the State.”

Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India said, “We remain committed towards ensuring that WhatsApp as a platform is helping the country navigate the COVID-19 crisis. We are thankful to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation for giving us an opportunity to work and support their endeavour to make the vaccination process easy and accessible.” 

To book a slot through WhatsApp, citizens need to send ‘Hi’ to the number +91 8335999000 on WhatsApp, share the date of the first dose, followed by ID details and proceed to select the vaccination centre to complete their booking. Upon verification, citizens receive a confirmation on the specific time slot that they need to visit the centre, thereby reducing crowding at centres.