Covid: CMC chatbox lets down second dose recipients
A number of people have failed to book slots for the second dose of a Covid vaccine at select Calcutta Municipal Corporation clinics as a WhatsApp chatbot that was created to spare them the harassment of standing in queues for hours did not give any time slot.
Without a slot no one can take a shot at any of the three clinics run by the civic body.
The chatbot has been launched with the objective of granting time slots to recipients so they do not have to queue up from early in the morning.
To initiate the process of booking a slot, one has to type “Hi” and WhatsApp it to 8335999000.
A number of people who tried to book slots on Monday received messages asking them to select slots on specified dates. But when they tried to book a time slot, the chatbot replied that none was available. The same reply came through the day as these people tried to book a slot multiple times.
The glitch prompted a number of people to complain on the Twitter handle of the civic body.
A resident of Paikpara who wanted to book a slot for the second dose of Covaxin did the registration. A message then came asking him to choose a date, which he did.
“The chatbox was telling me that slots were available on certain days at two centres. But every time I was selecting a date and entering my details, the chatbox replied that slots were not available. This happened throughout the evening and the night,” he said.
Around 9.45pm, a message came on the chatbox saying a few slots were still available. He repeated the steps to book a slot, only to be met with the same response.
A New Garia resident who was trying to book a slot for a friend had a similar experience on Monday.
“I completed all the formalities and got a message that a slot had been booked on May 19 at the South City centre. But it did not mention any time slot. There were two star marks besides the time slot column,” said the man.
“Later, at night, I received a message that the slot had not been booked and the recipient should not visit the centre without a specified time slot,” said the man. He kept trying on Tuesday but the chatbot replied bookings would open again on Sunday.
An official of the state e-governance team that designed the chatbot said: “The chatbot started taking bookings at 10am. There were 5,000 slots and all were booked within an hour. The chatbot did not suffer any glitch.”
The three centres where the CMC is running vaccination clinics for second dose recipients are Bidhan Sishu Udyan near Ultadanga, Roxy cinema at Esplanade and South City International School on Prince Anwar Shah Road.