Coronavirus: Dubai offers vaccine booking through WhatsApp

The service will be added to Dubai Health Authority's Covid-19 hotline

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Explained: How to book a Covid-19 vaccine in Dubai via WhatsApp

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has introduced an AI-enabled service that allows residents to book a Covid-19 vaccine appointment via WhatsApp.

The new service utilises the health authority's hotline, which was rolled out last year, to answer pressing concerns about the coronavirus.

Residents wishing to book an appointment at a DHA facility can send a message saying “Hi” on WhatsApp to 800 342.

Users then submit their medical record number, select the vaccination centre and choose their preferred date and time.

The system will also send confirmation of the appointment.

The DHA said more than 150,000 Covid-19 queries had been addressed through the WhatsApp hotline since it launched its automated chatbot service last April.

The 24-hour system is available in multiple languages.

Fatma Al Khajah, director of the Customer Happiness Department at DHA, said the new service will further bolster the emirate's vaccination drive.

"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," she said.

Ramez Shehadi, managing director of Facebook MENA, which operates the WhatsApp service in partnership with the DHA, 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."

Since the onset of the pandemic, WhatsApp has partnered with more than 150 national, state and local governments, as well as the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

More than two billion people use WhatsApp globally and over three billion messages have been sent to Covid-19 helplines in the past year.

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