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Santa Clara County Pushes Flu Shots For More Than 700 Homeless Veterans

SAN JOSE (KCBS)— Veteran's Day has put the spotlight on the thousands of vets who are homeless in the U.S. and with the weather turning colder, Santa Clara County is pushing to give flu shots to many of those who have served, but are now in need.

It's estimated that there are more than 700 homeless veterans living on the streets of Santa Clara County, according to the County's 2013 Homeless Census.

However, Roberta Gunderson from Gardner Family Health Network and the Healthcare for the Homeless Project, said free health care is available for those that seek it out, whether or not they're veterans.

"You know, the immunizations, flu shots, Hep B series. Whatever somebody needs, we can do for them," she said.

Gunderson said getting them vaccinated against influenza helps to prevent spread of the disease and hopes to give 1,500 flu shots to the homeless this winter season.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese said they are doing a far better job in keeping track of the homeless.

"It gives doctors and professionals a chance to open up a file on them, especially at the county level. [Santa Clara] Valley Medical Center actually will keep a file on folks no matter if they have health insurance or they're completely indigent or homeless, whatever. It doesn't matter and that helps," Cortese said.

He said they would like to hold more homeless health fairs like the one last week that unfortunately had to be cancelled due to a natural gas leak.

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