The Dalai Lama has received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in India.
After receiving the injection, the 85-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader urged people to come forward, be brave and get vaccinated.
‘In order to prevent some serious problems, this injection is very, very helpful,’ he said.
Following the vaccination, the Dalai Lama was observed for 30 minutes afterwards, according to Dr GD Gupta of Zonal Hospital.
He said: ‘He offered to come to the hospital like a common man to get himself vaccinated.’
The spiritual leader and ten other people who live in the Dalai Lama’s residence received the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Born in 1935, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, making Dharamshala in northern India his headquarters.
China does not recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile and accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to separate Tibet from China.
The Dalai Lama denies being a separatist and says he merely advocates for substantial autonomy and protection of the region’s native Buddhist culture.
More than 11 million cases of coronavirus and 157,000 deaths have put India in second place behind the United States for the largest number of infections in the world.
India rolled out its vaccination drive in January, starting with healthcare and frontline workers.
Earlier this month, the inoculation drive was expanded to older people and those with medical conditions that put them at risk.