COVID: Delhi tech students develop Telegram bot to notify vaccine slots

India opened registrations for its vaccination program for adults between 18 to 44 years of age on April 28.

COVID: Delhi tech students develop Telegram bot to notify vaccine slots Representational image (Source: Shutterstock)
Press Trust of India | May 22, 2021 - 9 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Two engineering students here have developed an application that sends a notification to the user about slots available on the CoWIN portal for coronavirus vaccination.

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The Telegram bot -- "CoWIN alerts" -- developed by students of Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Delhi was launched in May and has amassed more than 40,000 users since.

Paras Mehan, a third-year student of Computer Science Engineering (CSE), who is one of the developers, claimed that the bot has a user-friendly interface and is quite simple to operate. "The person who wants to book a slot has to provide their district name or pincode and their age group -- 18-44 years or 45 years and above. The bot currently provides information for 5,002 pincodes and 594 districts," he said.

"The bot then updates the person via notification once the slot is made available on the CoWIN portal. The message has information on which centre has the available slots, the number of slots available, and the date of availability," he added. India opened registrations for its vaccination program for adults between 18 to 44 years of age on April 28.

Unlike for adults above the age of 45 years, walk-in vaccination was not allowed. "The people who wanted to get vaccinated needed to book their slot on the CoWIN portal in advance.

However, the portal ran into several technical difficulties. The slots often opened without intimation and people had to keep refreshing the website for updates, which was quite bothersome," said Rohan Rajpal, a fourth-year CSE student.

"As soon as the registrations for all adults opened up, authorities also opened up the CoWIN Application Programming Interface (API) to all developers. This is by far the most impactful project we have ever worked on. We are taking user feedback into consideration and improving it every single day. It would encourage more people to get vaccinated and hopefully help us tighten the leash on the spread of coronavirus," he added.

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