Contagious diseases in condos

M.V. writes:

Dear Paul:

Can the condo corporation make rules or bylaws forcing unit owners to get vaccinated for the flu or other contagious diseases? The current spread of the measles virus has me concerned that it could easily spread in our condo building. What can we do?

Paul replies:

Dear M.V.:

You are probably justified in being concerned. Many condo dwellers are elderly and may be at greater risk. Unfortunately, I do not think that a condo corporation has the power to require compulsory vaccination. While public health officials might support the idea, I do not believe it would go any further. In some jurisdictions, the government has legislated vaccination for school-age children, but immunization is not just for children. Adults are just as susceptible to becoming infected.

Researchers tell us that some viruses can remain in the air for two hours. Imagine someone infected with a contagious disease entering the lobby of a condo building and coughs or sneezes. The virus remains in the air. The next person that comes in while the virus is still lingering may contract the disease. The best way to protect each other is by having as many people as possible vaccinated. It is called “herd immunity”. If only a few people are immunized, it is not as effective. Research tells us that about 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated for herd immunization to be effective.  

An individual who is contagious with any illness should consider staying away from social events where they could spread their affliction to others. The best action a condo corporation could take is to provide vaccination information to its unit owners and promote healthy living. Similar to practices adopted by many stores, public buildings, offices, having hand sanitizer stations in common areas like the lobby and party room will help minimize infection. If available in your area, public health may come to your building to speak about the benefits of immunization, and even offer the vaccine during their visit. The more each us does, the better off we will all be. Be well!

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