Dalai Lama receives coronavirus vaccine

Dalai Lama receives coronavirus vaccine

The Dalai Lama has received the first shot of the coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in the north Indian hill town of Dharamsala.

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.

GD Gupta of Zonal Hospital, where the shot was administered on Saturday, told reporters the Dalai Lama was observed for 30 minutes afterward.

"He offered to come to the hospital like a common man to get himself vaccinated," Gupta said.

Ten other people who live in the leader's residence were also vaccinated, Gupta said.

All eleven received the vaccine, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and manufactured by India's Serum Institute.

India has confirmed more than 11 million cases of the coronavirus and over 157,000 deaths.

The country, which has the second-highest caseload in the world behind the US, rolled out its vaccination drive in January, starting with healthcare and frontline workers.