BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As the country prepares to start giving out getting booster shots, many Americans still haven’t gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

And the controversy over vaccine mandates is reaching a boiling point.

Support for — and opposition to — vaccination mandates are heating up around the state — including right here in Bakersfield, where three different protests were held Friday.

The protests have been organized by a group called American Healthcare Workers for Medical Freedom. They started with a rally at 8 a.m. on the sidewalk in front of Memorial Hospital, moved over to Mercy Hospital Downtown at 9:30 and then started at Mercy Southwest.

Their slogan, “We support your right to choose,” references the vaccination requirements announced last week by the governor but in recent days there have also been protests about mask mandates.

Just for comparison’s sake, though, it’s interesting to note that the city and county of San Francisco, where the vaccination rate among the eligible population is 78 percent, on Friday began requiring proof of vaccination to enter virtually any building, including private businesses.

The Kern County population is almost exactly the same as San Francisco and vaccination percentage among the eligible population is just 45 percent.

And, one more factoid — Adventist Health Bakersfield says they have put emergency tents back up for potential covid overflow — and among the covid patients they have now, 99.14 percent are unvaccinated.