A consultant in infectious diseases believes the mask mandate should have stayed in place longer, as COVID-19 cases climb in Ireland.
Dr Eoghan De Barra was speaking as the country braces for another sharp increase in tandem with the extra-long St Patrick's Day holiday.
He told Pat Kenny the lifting of the mask mandate, in almost all settings, was probably done too quickly.
"I think many of us would have liked - as in the medical community - would have liked to see it remain.
"I can understand why it's not mandatory anymore; I certainly do it in crowded areas and encourage people too.
"It's really a signal to others - there are a very frightened group of immuno-compromised people in this country, who now are more fearful than they have been in the last two years.
"I'd say to them that most of the evidence is that the vaccination does still protect them.
"But on the other hand, I think we can all still do those small things that mean life is a little less uncomfortable for them".
There is already an increase'
Dr De Barra says the increase in COVID-19 infections is already happening.
"There most certainly will be an increase in cases - there is already an increase in cases, society is open, people are interacting.
"And thus far the firewall... of vaccination is holding true, in terms of the cases not converting into severity of disease and hospitalisations with COVID.
"The other piece of news is that those large numbers - over 1,000 - of inpatients with a positive test, very few of them are there with symptomatic COVID.
"But all that said, we don't know what the next phases are going to be.
"We have really excellent, safe, effective vaccinations and we still have portions of the population that haven't taken it up unfortunately".
Latest figures show the majority of parents of primary school children have not taken up the offer to vaccinate their children against COVID-19.
The HSE says around 93,000 of the 480,000 five to 11-year-olds who are eligible are fully vaccinated.
While those aged 12 to 15 have seen just 8,500 out of 280,000 receive a booster shot.