Owner of apartments hopes to set precedent with vaccine requirement

Scotland’s only registered facility will vaccinate residents against man flu in new move after quarantining 37 residents in November Owner of apartments hopes to set precedent with vaccine requirement The owner of Scotland’s only…

Owner of apartments hopes to set precedent with vaccine requirement

Scotland’s only registered facility will vaccinate residents against man flu in new move after quarantining 37 residents in November

Owner of apartments hopes to set precedent with vaccine requirement

The owner of Scotland’s only registered guest home has said he hopes to “set a precedent” by requiring that residents of his business are vaccinated against bacterial meningitis, despite the request of health inspectors.

The owner of the 127 apartments in Glasgow, and a 10-year resident at the facility, said he had “no plans to change anything” at the home after the Scottish chief medical officer, James Glasgow, sought permission for the centre to be quarantined in November when 37 residents were stricken with the infection.

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The outbreak lasted a month and died down, and the home’s director of client services was written to on 16 December, 11 days after a new resident infected with the infection was admitted. At that point, a fresh letter was sent, informing him of the 28 days of symptoms the clinic should be observed for.

“We do have signs that ask people to fill in sheets of paper that have a space in it for a flu jab,” said the owner of the Northfield apartments, who requested his identity not be used for this article. “Obviously in a past era it would have been useless for a health inspector to come to the door, so there was a non-mandatory code that had been put in place, and that has now been amended to make it mandatory.”

The centre, which cannot admit guests due to its history, was recently named in the Guardian’s Cool Spaces series. It was given “A few star” ratings by the National Health Service provider NHS Tayside in May 2017, and it was previously cited as the most important provider of accommodation for older people in Scotland.

The owner said staff initially estimated that about half of residents in the centre would be vaccinated, including himself. The Department of Health and Social Care did not return a request for comment.

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Glasgow said when he approached the centre he was told by health inspectors that the operators did not have a policy that obliged patients to take part in the routine vaccination, so it would not be possible to quarantine the resident and achieve a swift result.

The director of operations at the centre said his “purpose is to protect our residents as soon as possible. Any further action taken should then be coordinated with the operator and the chief medical officer.”

Including the threat of compulsory vaccination, the proviso regarding refusal of an antibiotic for an existing viral infection would explain why, it is widely believed, that 22 of the 35 cases of bacterial meningitis in Scotland this year have been sporadic, or the result of an isolator case, instead of patients sharing a close living space.

Scottish health inspectors have come down hard on the use of the isolator, some medical experts writing to the Guardian against it after analysing reports on five of those cases.

Staff at the centre said they took exception to the suggestion that BH3, the bacterial strain that struck 37 residents, was a “hardy virus”, given that it is well represented in the country’s population.

“That’s rubbish. BH3 is incredibly common,” the director of operations said. “We saw it in Canada, and it’s widespread in South Africa.”

As a result of the quarantining, the owner is also facing an escalating fallout with other landlords and on Airbnb. One insisted that the owner’s business was the only property operator “at this point” he’d warned about the problem, while others said the virus was not an issue they were aware of.

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