Credit: The Washington Independent

A reevaluation has been called on mass vaccinations against influenza by a leading health expert.

Professor Peter Collignon, an expert in infectious disease from the Australian National University, says the management of the swine flu response last year is an example of how not to manage an outbreak.

He says the swine flu response last year need not have included mass vaccinations or pandemic plans, because the mortality rate was low.

Mass vaccination programs often indicate people who do not really need the drugs get them before people in more dire need, he added.

Because there was a general panic in society, the wrong people got the drugs at the wrong time, he said.

We ran the risk of paralyzing our health system with people, 99 per cent whom would have got better by themselves anyway by just being at home, taking fluids, taking panadol ... and keeping away from people so they didn't spread the infection.

Prof Collignon says attempting to vaccinate everyone, as seen in the case of swine flu outbreak last year, actually overwhelms the health system.

We don't want to necessarily immune the whole population with a vaccine.

We want to target our response to those who are at risk and I think we need to learn from this so that we do this better in the future.

This has been a problem where there's been resources allocated for swine flu which probably could have been better, in retrospect, allocated elsewhere.