As many as 15% of staff members in some Irish nursing homes may have refused a COVID-19 vaccine, Newstalk has learnt.
A vast majority of nursing home residents and staff have now received at least their first dose of the vaccination, on track with the Government's target of the end of this month.
Out of 40 nursing homes contacted by Newstalk, uptake rates among staff ranged from 75% to 95% - with an average of around 85%.
37 of the homes contacted had at least one person who turned down the vaccine for personal reasons.
While some staff declined because they were pregnant, others were ineligible because they had recently been infected with the virus.
However, as one nursing home staff member - who spoke on the condition of anonymity - explained, some colleagues were afraid to get the vaccine.
He said: "In all, I'd probably know around 5-10 people who chose not to get it.
"Some people had fear regarding it, around the production of it. They didn't know enough about it.
"Other people just had other personal opinions regarding it.
"I do feel it should be mandatory for nursing home staff to get the vaccine."
The carer stressed that he himself had 'zero reaction' to the vaccine himself, other than a slight numbness in the arm that evening.
The uptake rate is higher among residents, with the nursing homes contacted saying over 95% have received the vaccine.
CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland Tadhg Daly insists they're still happy with the 'exceptionally high' uptake rates and only a 'very, very small number' of staff are refusing it.
He said: "We're looking in many nursing homes across the country in excess of 90% of staff, and close to 100% of residents.
"There's a responsibility on all of us now to make sure all employees and residents are fully informed of the vaccine and benefits of the vaccine. Ultimately, people have to make their own decisions."
The HSE yesterday that 71,600 nursing home residents and staff have been vaccinated to date, and around 95% of residents have received their first jab.
Only four nursing homes of the 589 in the country have not been included in the vaccination programme so far, due to coronavirus outbreaks in the facilities.
However, those homes will be included in the programme in the next few weeks.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, HSE CEO Paul Reid cautioned that there are reasons why some staff may not have received their vaccine yet.
He explained: "It may be a case - I don't have the full data - it's not staff didn't take it up, but we haven't captured them just yet.
"They may not have been available, or were out sick."
Mr Reid said frontline workers do need to get their vaccine, but it's 'not the preferred method' to make vaccination mandatory by legislation.
However, he said the take-up in general has been 'phenomenal', and Ireland 'will be leading the way' on take-up of the vaccine.