Dr Paul Molloy - who has been working on the frontline throughout the pandemic - was speaking as it emerged about 80% of Coronavirus patients aged under 60 in NI hospitals have not been vaccinated.
This week, the Department of Health highlighted the effect the vaccination programme has had on reducing the number of people in hospital.
Dr Molloy says there are “promising signs” from across the UK that the vaccination campaign has made inroads into the virus.
“Obviously, the Delta variant is spread more easily and, thus, the herd immunity figure has been revised from 70% to 80%,” he said.
“16-17 year-olds can now book to get their vaccine and everyone in an at-risk group aged 12 or over will also be vaccinated, if they wish.
“While I would encourage all those eligible to get vaccinated, it is also a time for tolerance. I have had many, many negative messages bordering on threats for advocating on the side of the vaccine and I have heard people being condemned for not getting the vaccine.
“There were many issues which made it very difficult for people to decide accurately and there was a lot of false information circulating.
“Everyone was scared and that was understandable.
“People are different and we make different choices and have different opinions. When we respect each other’s opinions, the world is much better.”
Earlier this week, Health officials in NI pleaded for people not to fall for “nonsense peddled by anti-vax extremists”.
They have urged people to “make an informed choice” and ignore “online lies” about the jab.