The 85-year-old Dalai Lama, a Tibetan spiritual leader, received his first shot of the corona virus vaccine at a hospital in the northern Indian mountain town of Dharamsala on Saturday.
After taking the injection, he urged people to be brave and come forward to get vaccinated.
“To prevent some serious problems, this injection is very, very helpful,” he said.
Dr. GD Gupta of the zonal hospital, where the shooting took place, told reporters that the Dalai Lama was observed for 30 minutes. “He offered to come to the hospital like a normal person to get himself vaccinated,” he said.
Gupta said ten other people living at the Dalai Lama’s residence were also vaccinated. All 11 received the Coshield vaccine, a version of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India.
India has confirmed more than 11 million and 157,000 deaths from the corona virus. In this country, which has the second highest burden in the world behind the United States, it launched its vaccination campaign in January with healthcare and frontline workers. Earlier this month, it expanded its vaccination campaign to the elderly and those with medical conditions that put them at risk.
The Dalai Lama made Dharamshala his capital in 1959, and fled to Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. China does not recognize deportation during the Tibetan regime and accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to separate Tibet from China.
The Dalai Lama denies being a separatist and says he only supports sovereignty and the preservation of the region’s local Buddhist culture.
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