Alexa Gets Ability to Search for Nearby COVID-19 Vaccine Centres, Helps Check Availability

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Alexa’s new feature will be particularly useful for those who may find it difficult to schedule an appointment via online portals and sites.

Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant for its Echo devices, has now got the ability to search for nearby vaccination sites and help connect users with these websites to check for availability or schedule an appointment. Alexa users can speak the voice command, “Alexa, where can I get a COVID vaccine?” and a list of all the nearby vaccination sites will be listed out. This will be particularly useful for the elderly, who may find it difficult to schedule an appointment via online portals and sites.

The company took to its official site to announce that Alexa can help customers access information about COVID-19 vaccines and connect them to vaccination sites. Apart from hearing a list of nearby vaccination centres, users can also ask Alexa to make a call to one of the sites on the list and check for availability. For instance, just say, “Alexa, call the first one,” to connect to a specific location directly and learn more about vaccine or appointment availability. This feature is currently available in the US only.

This is similar to how you can find a nearby COVID-19 testing location using Alexa. You can trigger a request by saying, “Alexa, where can I get tested for COVID-19?” to hear a list of nearby testing centres and get more information about test locations by saying, “Alexa, call the first one,” to call the phone number provided for the location.

Amazon says Alexa has answered tens of millions of questions related to COVID-19 last year. It can answer questions about vaccine availability and eligibility requirements for more than 85 countries. India is currently facing the second wave of the pandemic with daily cases peaking over 3 lakhs in the country. Lack of medical facilities, hospital beds, and oxygen has compelled users to take to social media to ask for help. Vaccines are about to open up for citizens aged 18 and above. The process for registration is detailed here.

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