Most Ontario children are not getting flu shots even though free vaccinations are available under the province’s universal immunization program, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences conducted a survey of caregivers for 4,854 children during the 2006-2007 flu season.

Only 10 per cent of infants aged six months to two years had received the right number of flu shots.

The first time a child under nine gets a flu shot he or she should actually get two shots for it to be effective, explained Jeffrey Kwong, an ICES scientist and co-author of the study published yesterday in the journal Vaccine.

Infants and kids with chronic conditions are considered high-risk, and the target is to have 70 per cent of these children vaccinated.

The rate of flu shots in Ontario infants was lower than other provinces, the study found.