A HSE board member has suggested refusing a COVID-19 vaccine is 'selfish and arrogant'.
Fergus Finlay says people need to be aware of the consequences to themselves and others.
He told On The Record those who are unvaccinated cannot expect others to protect them.
"If you're double vaccinated you can still get COVID, but you shouldn't get too sick.
"If you're not vaccinated, if you've chosen not to be vaccinated, you can still get COVID and you can end up in ICU or dead.
"And that's something that people ought to get and understand.
"I just cannot understand the mentality of somebody who says 'To hell with the vaccine, I'm not bothering me backside getting the vaccine' - and expecting the rest of us to protect them.
"We don't have a choice here - we have to try and get things going again.
"The level of frustration among people, and now unfortunately the level of risk that people are going to have to run to some extent."
And he says the lifting of physical distancing requirements, from October 22nd, could hurt this further.
"Last winter, for example, almost nobody in Ireland got the flu because of social distancing, masking and so on.
"This year, because there's less social distancing, more people are going to get the flu and are going to find themselves in hospital with serious flu complications."
'A difficult winter'
He says this could lead to less beds available for COVID-related illnesses.
"I think the probability is that we're going to have a difficult winter.
"The HSE needs every ICU bed it has, and it probably needs more than the ICU beds it has - not for COVID but for flu complications, for heart complications, for strokes.
"And every ICU bed that's occupied by a COVID patient is an ICU bed that is not available to somebody else.
"It's going to be tough, it's going to be difficult."
He adds that procedures put on hold due to the pandemic will likely stay that way, due to the increased need for COVID beds.
"I think it is, in some ways, the height of selfishness and arrogance for anyone to think 'I'm not getting a vaccine'.
"Every vaccine you take, you're not putting yourself at risk, but you are potentially saving other people's lives by being vaccinated.
"We can't force people to be vaccinated, but the ideal here is kill the pandemic by getting everybody vaccinated.
"And until we do, we can't get the health system back to struggling with normal".
He was speaking as 6,871,433 vaccine doses have been administered here as of Thursday night.
More than 3.4 million people are now fully inoculated - or 87.8% of the population aged 16 and over.
While almost three-quarters of the total population have had at least one dose.