BELGRADE — A batch of China’s Sinopharm vaccines that Montenegro had purchased arrived at Podgorica on Saturday, helping the country to kick off mass vaccination, the Montenegrin government said.

The vaccines were welcomed by Montenegrin Health Minister Jelena Borovinic Bojovic and Chinese Ambassador to Montenegro Liu Jin at the airport of the capital city.

Expressing thanks to China, Bojovic said the delivery of the doses “is another confirmation of traditionally good, friendly and sincere relations” between the two countries, according to a government release.

“I use this opportunity to invite all citizens of Montenegro to respond to the vaccination and to be absolutely sure that the vaccine is safe, effective and of high quality,” Bojovic said.

Liu said that the Chinese vaccines are a global public good, and “the international community shares a common future, and without international cooperation, we will not win the fight against the pandemic.”

All assistance and long-term cooperation with Montenegro are sincere and the result of deep friendship, based on equality, mutual respect and understanding, he added.

Montenegro has confirmed a total of 97,000 cases among its population of more than 600,000, with 2,367 still active as of Thursday, according to the Institute of Public Health and the Clinical Center of Montenegro.

So far 40,156 people have received the first dose, while 21,589 people have got both doses and another 94,568 applicants are waiting to receive the jab.