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Dubai: Book Covid-19 vaccine appointments through WhatsApp

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on May 31, 2021

(Reuters)

To access the 24/7 hotline, users will have to add 800 342 to their contacts and send 'Hi' on WhatsApp.

Now, Dubai residents can book an appointment for the Covid-19 vaccine via WhatsApp.

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said the WhatsApp hotline utilises artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate the booking of appointments.

To access the 24/7 WhatsApp hotline, users will have to add 800 342 to their contacts and send “Hi” on WhatsApp. To book a vaccine appointment, users should submit their Medical Record Number (MRN), which is a prerequisite to access the service.

Private hospitals offer Covid-19 vaccine appointment via WhatsApp

Residents can then select the vaccination centre and the appointment date and time as per their convenience. The AI-enabled system will provide the earliest appointment options in the selected centre. Users will then receive a confirmation message with the name of the centre, date and timing of their appointment.

The automated chatbot application is a free 24/7 service, initially developed to raise awareness among the public and provide them with accurate information about Covid-19 as well as other DHA services.

More than 150,000 Covid-19 queries were addressed through WhatsApp since the DHA began providing the hotline service.

Fatma Al Khajah, Director of the Customer Happiness Department at DHA, said: “Through the use of AI technology and this additional channel to book an appointment for the Covid-19 vaccine, we aim to provide community members with the utmost convenience. The new service will further bolster our vaccination drive.”

Al Khajah added that the new system operates round-the-clock and provides customers the opportunity to instantly book an appointment as per their convenience.

Ramez Shehadi, Managing Director for Facebook MENA, said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, it's been important more than ever before to connect the public with official sources of accurate health information. We are pleased to be able to partner with the DHA to help provide the community in Dubai with a quick and simple way to book their essential vaccines via WhatsApp."

Since the onset of the pandemic, WhatsApp has partnered with more than 150 national, state, and local governments as well as organisations like WHO and UNICEF, on Covid-19 helplines to connect its two billion users to accurate information and resources. Over three billion messages have been sent across these global helplines in the past year.

Facebook also introduced the Coronavirus Information Centre on top of user’s News Feeds to provide a central place for people to get the latest news on the pandemic.

Dubai: Book Covid-19 vaccine appointments through WhatsApp (https://images.khaleejtimes.com/assets/jpg/KT29163531.JPEG)





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