An anesthesiologist at UCLA Health in California who has not shied away from airing his suspicions about Covid-19 vaccines was escorted out of his workplace this week for refusing to get vaccinated in defiance of a statewide and employer mandate, according to local reports and a video posted on Twitter.
Dr. Christopher Rake is seen in a video appearing to record himself as another man escorts him out of the UCLA Medical Plaza in Westwood on Monday. “This is what happens when you stand up for freedom and when you show up to work, willing to work, despite being unvaccinated, and this is the price you have to pay sometimes,” Rake is heard saying in the video posted Tuesday by The Beverly Hills Courier staff writer Samuel Braslow. “But what they don’t realize is that I’m willing to lose everything — job, paycheck, freedom, even my life for this cause.” Rake concludes his video with a message for viewers: “Be well. United we stand, divided we fall.”
UCLA Health, which includes several hospitals in the Los Angeles region, requires all active employees working in-person to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or receive an exemption in accordance with University of California policy and a state public health order issued on Aug. 5. The order states all health care workers in California are required to have received their second shot of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, by Sept. 30.
“Those out of compliance are subject to progressive discipline, including restricting access to work sites and being placed on leave,” a UCLA spokesperson said in a statement to McClatchy News. All UCLA Health employees are required to show records of vaccination or “laboratory evidence of immunity” for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis B and Tdap.
As of Oct. 7, Rake’s profile remains active on the health system’s website. On Aug. 29, Rake attended an anti-vaccination rally in Santa Monica, according to the Los Angeles Times, and told an excited crowd that “they want to force a vaccination or medication or treatment into my body that I don’t want. So they’re telling me, ‘Take the jab or we take your job.’ And I’m here to say ‘no. That’s not OK.’”
UCLA took to Twitter two days later to respond: “These comments do not represent the views of UCLA Health. Unvaccinated people are more likely to contract Covid-19 & we encourage employees to be vaccinated. We adhere to the state public health order requiring health care workers to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing.”
Other UCLA faculty and staff have expressed their frustrations over Rake’s comments. “I think it’s mind boggling that a physician at a world-class institution would go to such a rally and use their name as a physician to directly contradict public health,” Dr. Anna Yap, an emergency medicine resident physician at UCLA, told the Daily Bruin, the university’s student newspaper.
The above comes from an Oct. 10 story in the Sacramento Bee.