Free flu vaccination for The Big Issue vendors


More than 120 vendors of The Big Issue magazine around Australia will receive a free flu vaccination this month to help keep them well over winter thanks to Bupa.

While health authorities strongly recommend Australians get vaccinated against the flu this year to reduce stress on the health system during the COVID-19 pandemic, this isn’t always easy for Australians experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.

CEO of The Big Issue Steven Persson said accessing resources such as flu vaccinations can often be harder for vendors due to their personal circumstances.

“In these difficult times those experiencing homelessness and disadvantage are especially vulnerable, so being vaccinated against the flu to help with their overall wellbeing is even more important this year.

“This is the third year Bupa has offered free flu vaccinations for our vendors, and something we’re particularly thankful for during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mark, who has been selling The Big Issue magazine since 2014, said having the vaccination will give him peace of mind when he’s back on the street selling magazines again.

“It’s peace of mind for myself and peace of mind for the customers. It was great for Bupa to send down a nurse to do this, and it was easier for us to come here than to go to a local doctors.

While The Big Issue vendors aren’t currently selling magazines on the street, Mark said he was looking forward to getting back to work soon.

“I get to meet a lot of people that wouldn’t normally talk to me if I didn’t have the vest on. It’s an honest way to make a bit of pocket money.”

Emily Bellemore, Bupa’s head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, said Bupa has been looking at ways it can help more vulnerable communities and support vital organisations, such as The Big Issue, who are being hit hard by the pandemic.

“As one of Australia’s largest health and care companies, we want to use the unique skills and resources we have within our business to help provide essential services, like flu vaccinations, to those most in need.

“We’re really proud that we can support our nurses across Australia to provide Big Issue vendors with easy access to vaccination to help them stay well during the colder months ahead.”

Ms Bellemore said Bupa had also donated $10,000 to The Big Issue’s Hardship Fun which provides immediate and long-term support to vendors during this time.

Media reference number: 20/070