NPR reports the 85-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader initially planned to receive the vaccine at his home, but decided to get the shot at the Zonal Hospital in Dharmsala, India. Dr. Gurdarshan Gupta, Kangra district’s Chief Medical Officer, told reporters His Holiness chose to travel to the vaccination site “like a common man.” He also confirmed that 10 other people who live in the Dalai Lama’s residence also received the vaccine known as Covishield, which was developed by Oxford University and UK-based drug manufacturer AstraZeneca.
The Dalai Lama documented the injection on his Instagram page and released a subsequent video in which he encouraged others to get the vaccine.
“In order to prevent some serious problems, this injection is very, very helpful,” he said. “Other patients should also take this injection for the greater benefit. So it is very important … I want to share that more people should have the courage to take this injection.”
According to Phayul, the spiritual leader did not exhibit any side effects within the half-hour observation period. He will reportedly receive a booster injection in 28 days.
India began administering vaccinations back in January, beginning with front-line workers. The country has the second-highest COVID-19 caseload behind the United States, tallying more than 11 million confirmed cases and 157,000 deaths, as reported by the Associated Press.