COVID-19 vaccination appointment on WhatsApp: beware of this scam being spread on social media

No, you cannot book COVID-19 vaccination appointments on WhatsApp. A message being distributed on social claims that you can now book your COVID-19 vaccination on the Facebook-owned social messaging platform. However, it is a fake message that does not hold any water against the reality.

Also Read: CoWIN 2.0: how to register for COVID-19 vaccine, price, eligibility, and more

Right now, the government is allowing Indian citizens above age 45 to schedule their COVID-19 vaccination appointments. However, these appointments can only be scheduled using the official CoWIN portal and Aarogya Setu app. As the vaccination net widens, the misinformation is also taking shape. Here is what you need to know about the latest scam.

COVID-19 vaccination appointment via WhatsApp is fake

A new message being shared widely on social media claims that you can now book your Coronavirus vaccination appointment using WhatsApp. However, it is not true. The fake message claims that the process is simple and “easy to use like chatting”. The message circulating online also claims that users don’t need to download any app and the process is “integrated with the GOI’s CoWin vaccine management system”.

The message further claims that you can book appointments for up to four people. In response to this fake news spreading online, PIB has offered a fact check on Twitter. In response to this, PIBFactCheck tweeted “This claim is Fake”. The registration for COVID-19 vaccination can only be done through the COWIN portal and using the Aarogya Setu app.

COVID-19 vaccination: official channels to book online appointment

The government offers a streamlined process to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments via the CoWIN portal. You can also book appointments online using the Aarogya Setu app, although you will still have to register on CoWIN to download the vaccination certificate. For this reason, we recommend booking the appointment through CoWIN itself.

COVID-19 vaccination: how to book appointments on CoWIN portal?

  1. Visit the CoWIN portal from a compatible web browser.
  2. Click on the “Register/Sign In yourself” option at the top right hand corner.
  3. You will be redirected to a microsite for self registration.
  4. Enter your mobile number to receive a one-time password.
  5. Now, register yourself using your mobile number and OTP received.
  6. Provide your details including name, gender, and year of birth.
  7. During this step, you should also enter your Aadhaar number for authentication.
  8. Click on register.
  9. The system will now show the “Account Details” as an option.
  10. Click on the Account Details and then tap on “Add More” button to add up to three more people.
  11. Once you’ve added additional people, click on “Schedule appointment”.
  12. Enter your pincode and click on search to find the nearest vaccination centre.
  13. Choose your preferred centre to see the date and availability
  14. Pick your preferred date and time slot
  15. Click on the “Book” button to schedule your appointment.
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