After a fall in COVID-19 positive cases for a few days, India is seeing a surge again, and cases are rapidly crossing the 4 lakh mark daily. Both Central and state governments are ramping up efforts to increase the supply of oxygen but at the same time advising eligible citizens to get their COVID-19 vaccine dose at the earliest. However, getting a jab in India has its own set of problems primarily due to a shortage in the supply of vaccines. Luckily, tech giants and independent researchers are coming up with solutions that will essentially let Indians find a vaccine centre with available vaccine slots. Here are some tools you might want to check that will help you get the COVID-19 vaccine around your area.
Before we go on with the list, readers must note that third-party platforms can only help in finding a vaccine centre with available slots; however, the booking continues to happen via the CoWIN portal. To access the portal, citizens above 18 years of age can check out the CoWIN Android app and website or the integrated service within the Aarogya Setu app for Android, KaiOS, and iOS.
Paytm Vaccine Finder: Digital payments platform Paytm recently announced the launch of ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Finder,’ an integrated platform to help citizens check the availability of vaccination slots via its inbuilt Mini App store. To find the COVID-19 vaccine slots via Paytm, open the app and head to Mini App Store section at the bottom. Look for the Vaccine Finder option and enter your pin code/ district, and select between 18+ and 45+ age groups. In case of unavailability, click on the ‘notify me when slots are available’ option to get real-time alerts.
VaccinateMe: VaccinateMe by fitness app HealthifyMe is another tool that is simple to use. You can enter pin code or district to find centres with available slots. Moreover, the platform will notify the users when a slot opens up via SMS, email, or WhatsApp in the case of unavailability. Citizens can search for vaccine slot by using filters like the name of the vaccine, age, and more.
CoWIN: As mentioned, no matter what apps or websites users use, the CoWIN website and app for Android users remain the sole portal to book the COVID-19 vaccine slot online. The CoWIN platform provides the most traditional way of looking for the availability of slots, that is, by individually entering different pin codes. You can read more about how to book a slot via CoWIN here.
Getjab.in: Getjab.in is another interesting platform that notifies users via email when there’s an availability of COVID-19 vaccine slot similar to Paytm Vaccine Finder and VaccinateMe. The site is run by ISB alumni Shyam Sunder and colleagues, and it requires information such as name, email, location, and optional phone number. The website claims that shared data will not be shared or sold to anyone. “Get notified by email whenever slots open up for 18 – 45 age group,” it adds.
WhatsApp MyGov Corona Helpdesk: WhatsApp can also help citizens find COVID-19 vaccine centres with availability around them via the WhatsApp MyGov Corona Helpdesk chatbot – launched in March 2020. The process to find a vaccine centre (and availability) is simple, and users have to save the number 9013151515 on their Android or iOS smartphone. User can also use the chatbot via WhatsApp Desktop or Web by clicking on the link: wa.me/919013151515. Once the MyGov Corona Helpdesk chatbot is launched, WhatsApp users will need to send ‘or ‘hello.’ After a moment, an automated response will ask users to select an option for their COVID-related info – in this case, to find the vaccine centre nearest to their location. Notably, users can chat with the chatbot in Hindi by sending the text Hindi or हिंदी.