Professor Sam McConkey has said he is concerned of the "consistent increase" of COVID-19 cases in Ireland.
This follows one further death, and 429 new cases of COVID-19, in Ireland on Sunday.
The infectious disease specialist at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about how this is a turning point for Irish health.
"I looked at the breakdown and, shockingly, the increase in cases is in 23 or 24 of the counties in Ireland – so it's a very consistent increase everywhere," he said.
"This is not just one big outbreak of 200 cases in a factory, this is an incremental rise all over the country."
Echoing this was Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, who said he was “concerned that we are seeing the incidence of COVID-19 rising again.”
There has now been a total of 76,185 confirmed cases of the virus and 2,124 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Of the 429 cases notified by the Department of Health, 198 are men and 230 are women, 66% are under 45 years of age while the median age is 34-years-old.
A total of 122 were reported in Dublin, 46 in Donegal, 30 in Limerick, 22 in Laois, 20 in Cork and the remaining 189 cases are spread across all other counties.
Commenting on further restrictions that will potentially be in place come January, Prof McConkey said the vaccine is not something to be wholly relied on.
"I see it [the vaccine] a bit like seatbelts," he said.
"It's one tool among many to prevent road accidents. Seatbelts don't mean I can get drunk and drive down the motorway at 150mph, they're one tool among others. So I see the vaccine as one useful, powerful, effective, safe and good tool but it's not a panacea on its own.
"It's to be part of an integrated programme."
Prof McConkey said people should stay safe this Christmas by making smart choices and to "keep your bubble small".