Irene Katsotourchi, the only inhabitant of the Greek islet of Kinaros, was vaccinated against COVID-19 after a mobile vaccination unit finally visited the Dodecanese islet.
Katsotourchi, who is popularly known as “Kyra Rini” (“Mrs. Rini”), has been the only resident of the remote Aegean islet for years now.
Located between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese archipelagos, the islet of Kinaros belongs to the Amorgos Municipality.
Kyra Rini had expressed her desire to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to the postman who delivers mail to Kinaros from the nearby island of Amorgos every two weeks.
Kyra Rini’s wish was passed on to the mayor of Amorgos, Lefteris Karaiskos, who decided immediately that the woman must be vaccinated as she wishes.
President of the Hellenic, Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, paid her respects to Kyra Rini last Christmas on the island.
Mobile vaccination unit fights waves to get to at Kinaros
A mobile vaccination unit arrived by boat to the remote islet amid winds that hit 6 Beaufort (27 knots) and whitecaps.
“We went with the post boat, which goes to the islet every fortnight, along with the doctor, the nurse and we vaccinated her. Everything went well,” mayor Karaiskos told reporters from ERT television.
The mayor said that the only annoyance the woman felt was a slight pain in her arm for two days.
Describing the whole process to get the 75-year-old island resident vaccinated, Karaiskos said that the boat trip to Kinaros lasted four and one half hours due to bad weather, when it usually takes one hour and one half.
Speaking to ERT, the Amorgos mayor said “The message sent by Kyra Rini is clear. It is a message of optimism. A message of life and responsibility to ourselves and society. Especially to vulnerable groups and health workers, who have fought the pandemic for the past two years.
“A message that only vaccination will make us able to leave it behind us. To protect our health and all together to continue with our lives.”
Kyra Rini has lived alone on Kinaros since 2013
Irene Katsotourchi has lived alone on the remote islet since 2013, when her husband passed away, who had been the only other resident of Kinaros for some years.
She was born on Amorgos and grew up on Kinaros. When she got married she lived with her family on Kalymnos, but then the couple migrated to Australia.
When they returned, they decided to settle permanently on Kinaros. However, it wasn’t long before her husband passed away; ever since then she has lived alone on the remote islet.
Life is not easy on Kinaros for a single, elderly woman. Her only contact with the outside world during the winter months is the weekly arrival of the boat from Amorgos, bringing essential supplies to her.
“Sole guardian” of the Greek islet
In the past, Kyra Rini has expressed her fear of Turkey taking over Kinaros. Given Ankara’s unsubstantiated claims in the southeast Aegean and continuous violations of Greek territorial waters and airspace, her worry is not unfounded.
In fact, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously claimed that Kinaros is a place of worship.
In the past few years Kyra Rini has had her fair share of hearing and seeing Turkish fighter jets flying over her home.
Kinaros is situated west of Kalymnos and Leros and east of Amorgos. After Astypalea, it is the second westernmost island of the Dodecanese archipelago, covering an area of 4.5 square kilometers (1.7 square miles).