The Dalai Lama received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala, according to the Tibetan government-in-exile headquartered there.

Following the jab, the 85-year-old, exiled Tibetan spiritual leader appealed to all eligible people to come forward and get themselves vaccinated for the greater good of society.

"This is very important so I took that so I want to share more people should have the courage to take this injection," he was quoted as saying.

"In order to prevent some serious problem, this injection is very helpful and good. So those other patients should take this injection for greater benefit."

According to people familiar with the matter, the Dalai Lama canceled meetings from February last year due to the coronavirus epidemic, but he is currently holding an online ones.

In India, the inoculation campaign started in January, mainly for medical professionals. From this month, the target has been expanded to everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities.