Dalai Lama turns down offer to get vaccine jab at home, goes to dispensary
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama stepped out of his home after a year on Saturday to get first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, 85, who lives at McLeodganj, was given the shot at Zonal Hospital, Dharamshala, early in the morning.
Earlier, the district health authorities had planned to vaccinate the Dalai Lama at his home after the Indian government permitted provisions to inoculate the spiritual leader along with his core staff at his residence. “However, His Holiness said he would take the injection at the place where the common people were being inoculated,” said Kangra deputy commissioner Rakesh Kumar Prajapati. “It was his decision. We were arranging to vaccinate him at his home,” he added.
Escorted by his security and staff, the Dalai Lama arrived at the hospital in Dharamshala at 7am in a motorcade. His followers lined the streets from McLoedganj to the Zonal Hospital to catch a glimpse of their spiritual leader and seek his blessings.
Urges people to get vaccinated
In a video message after taking the injection, the Dalai Lama said his friends, including doctors, suggested he get inoculated as a preventive measure. “This injection is very helpful. Others should also take it for greater benefit,” he said, adding “I took it, and more people should have the courage to take the injection, too.”
He was put under observation for half an hour after being given the shot.
The Dalai Lama’s last public appearance was in January 2020 when he attended a five-day Buddhist teaching session at Bodhgaya in Bihar.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak, the Dalai Lama cancelled all public engagements in February 2020 but resumed virtual teachings in May.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese occupation. He moved to McLeodganj in 1960.