UCLA anesthesiologist, vocal against COVID vaccine mandates, is escorted out of workplace
A UCLA anesthesiologist who is vocal about his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate was escorted out of his workplace Monday for attempting to enter the building unvaccinated.
In a video that he seemingly captured himself, Dr. Christopher B. Rake is seen being escorted out of the 200 UCLA Medical Plaza in Westwood by three individuals.
“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,” he says. “But what they don’t realize is that I’m willing to lose everything — job, paycheck, freedom, even my life for this cause.”
Rake has been vocal about his beliefs before. On Aug. 29, he was recorded at an anti-vaccination rally in Santa Monica speaking about his opposition to the Aug. 5 California order that all healthcare workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 30. In opposition, Rake founded an anti-vaccination organization called Citizens United for Freedom. In the video, Rake tells the crowd, “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 Health said in a statement that active employees not working remotely must be vaccinated or receive an exemption, in compliance with the state public health order. “Those out of compliance are subject to progressive discipline, including restricting access to work sites and being placed on leave,” the statement said.
It is unclear what consequences Rake faced as a result. Rake did not respond to a request for comment.
UCLA Health employees are required to receive the annual flu vaccine and to provide documentation of vaccination or immunity to certain infectious diseases including measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, pertussis and meningitis.
This year, the flu and COVID-19 vaccines were added to the UCLA immunization requirement list for students.
At the Aug. 29 anti-vaccination rally, Rake urged onlookers not to request any exemptions for the vaccine. He claimed that asking for an exemption “was agreeing with the totalitarian lie that some other group has authority over your body.”
UCLA Health replied to the video of Rake at the rally, stating that his comments did not represent its views.
Rake received his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in 2004 and completed his residency at the UCLA Medical Center in 2009. He has been a board-certified anesthesiologist since 2010.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.