The US has donated half a million doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Georgia, which arrived in the capital early on Saturday.

The shipment was met at the airport in Tbilisi by the US Ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, and the Georgian Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili.

Degnan said it was a sign of America’s friendship towards the people of Georgia, a former Soviet republic to the south of Russia.

“We are very pleased to be able to donate this life-saving vaccine as part of our strategic partnership,” she said.

“The United States has supported the efforts to protect the health and safety of Georgians since the very beginning of this pandemic, and now we are able to provide the only thing that will really combat and contain this global pandemic, and that is a safe and effective vaccine.”

Georgia’s prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili, expressed his gratitude to US President Joe Biden.

Georgia has registered more than 395,000 COVID-19 infections with over 5,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Fewer than 4% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.