Dalai Lama gets first COVID vax in India

"In order to prevent serious problems, this injection is very, very helpful," the Dalai Lama says.

The Dalai Lama, the 85-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, has received his first shot of the coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in the north Indian hill town of Dharmsala.

After receiving the injection on Saturday, he 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.

Dr. G.D. Gupta of Zonal Hospital, where the shot was administered, 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," he said.

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

All eleven received the Covishield vaccine, which was developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca, and manufactured by India's Serum Institute.

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

Australian Associated Press