Mr Eastwood made the comments on the Nolan Live programme following a warning from Health Minister Robin Swann that the health service is facing pressure like never before.
He has also backed introducing vaccine passports for entry into pubs and restaurants here.
“We can no longer pretend that this virus has gone, what we’re doing is piling more and more pressure on to the health service,” said the Foyle MP.
“A+E’s are being closed, cancer surgeries are being cancelled and even with all of that we will still end up in a situation where we have to have further lockdowns.”
Responding to comments from Hospitality Ulster that vaccine passports would be “blackmail,” Mr Eastwood said that the North of Ireland was now living in “the pandemic of the unvaccinated”
“I know many pubs have had to close because they couldn’t get staff, people were having to isolate, people were getting sick.
“Given the number of young people who are working in that field, we need to get them vaccinated.”
Mr Eastwood added that it should be compulsory for care home workers to be vaccinated.
Currently over 100 residential care homes across the North are dealing with a Coronavirus outbreak.
“If I had a relative in a care home I’d be very concerned about their health and Covid-19 and I would want to ensure everyone working in that care home was vaccinated.”
He said care home workers who remained unvaccinated were “playing with fire” and risked another lockdown.
Asked if nurses and other medical staff should face compulsory vaccination, he added: “I do not understand why nurses would not be getting vaccinated.
“They’re the people at the front line….in any normal time we would not be supporting this but this is not a normal time.
“We have to stop the spread of this virus, we have to recognise that it is the nurses, doctors and porters working in hospitals that have got us through all of this.”
Questioned how the SDLP would cover staff shortages if all unvaccinated workers were excluded, Mr Eastwood said:
“There’s a big difference between people who haven’t taken the vaccine to date and still wouldn’t take the vaccine if it was mandated…to go to a pub, a restaurant, a gym or to go to work.
“I think we need to get to a point where we have a huge number of people vaccinated.”Tags: