Meet VIRA, the Latest COVID-19 Vaccine Chatbot to Join the Battle Against COVID-19

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Another chatbot joins the battle against COVID-19 with a mission to fight misinformation.

Earlier in September last year, a COVID-19 diagnostic chatbot was able to predict spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Now, cloud communications provider, Vonage, and Johns Hopkins University have joined forces to deliver official COVID-19 vaccine information through the latest COVID-19 vaccine chatbot, VIRA.

VIRA or the Vaccine Information Resource Assistant allows users of the popular messaging app, WhatsApp, to get immediate, accurate answers to questions about COVID-19 vaccines by simply texting +1 410-401-0306 on the app.

Currently, the chatbot specifically caters to users in the US but the service also works and can be accessed in other countries.

Powered by Vonage Messages API and natural language processing and machine learning capabilities from IBM’s Project Debater, VIRA can understand and answer questions on a range of topics including vaccine effectiveness, benefits, safety, and eligibility as well as COVID-19 preventative measures.

This public service chatbot started on the web and has since been extended to the WhatsApp platform. With IBM researchers working on the project since December 2020, VIRA is designed to detect emerging concerns and learn about existing ones from new conversations with users.

VIRA is part of WhatsApp’s global COVID-19 program. Over the course of the pandemic, WhatsApp has partnered with more than 350 health authorities in creating helplines that connect people to information on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines, with more than 4 billion messages sent through the helplines.

According to WhatsApp Social Impact Initiatives Lead, Christina LoNigro, they are now currently working with health ministries and governments around the world to bring vaccine registration for different populations directly within the app.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as of December 2021, a large segment of the US population remains unvaccinated, particularly in the young adult age group with less than 60% of 18-24 year-olds having been fully vaccinated. With COVID-19 cases and deaths being higher among unvaccinated people in the US, VIRA is a step forward in getting more US residents vaccinated.

The onset of the global pandemic in 2020 led to the biggest surge in chatbot usage due to the capacity of chatbots for instant and comprehensive customer service that provided a solution to the reduced workforce and high volume of customer inquiries.

With more chatbots aiding the public with reliable services and information amidst the pandemic, we can make the world a slightly better place. Book a bot demo with Alfafusion and find out how you can help in the fight against COVID-19.

Designing experience since 1998, Alfafusion is a pioneer enterprise chatbot solutions provider in the Philippines.

Call +632-98-999-1576 or send an email to to book a bot demo.

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