Video shows a California doctor being escorted out of the UCLA Medical Plaza in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The UCLA anesthesiologist is vehemently against vaccine mandates and proclaims that he is "willing to lose everything" to defend his position against mandatory vaccinations for COVID-19.
Dr. Christopher Rake — an anesthesiologist with UCLA Health — filmed himself being escorted from his workplace on Monday.
"This is what happens when you stand up for freedom, and you show up to work, willing to work, despite being unvaccinated, this is the price you have to pay sometimes," Rake says in the video as he is being escorted off the premises by three individuals. "What they don't realize is that I'm willing to go lose everything … job, paycheck, freedom, even my life, for this cause."
UCLA Health — which operates several hospitals in the Los Angeles area — requires all in-person employees to be fully vaccinated or obtain an exemption.
"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.
Rake has declared that he will not get the COVID-19 vaccine or seek an exemption.
On Aug. 5, the California Department of Health issued a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all health care workers in the state. Medical workers were required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.
The University of California outlines the ramifications for employees who refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine — which can result in termination.
If an employee fails to submit proof of Full Vaccination or make a request for an Exception or Deferral within the period prescribed in the Second Notice (or the First Notice, if a Non-Excepted Employee), the employee will receive a Notice of Continued Non-Compliance stating that the Department will commence a period of progressive corrective action/discipline, up to and including termination/dismissal, against the employee. During the corrective action/discipline period, the employee will be permitted Physical Presence for up to six weeks (at the Location's discretion) and must, as a condition of Physical Presence, comply with NPIs defined by the Location. Not withstanding the foregoing, employees subject to the August 5, 2021 CDPH order cannot be Physically Present at any UC health care facility after September 30, 2021 while their requests are pending.
All UCLA Health employees are required to complete a medical evaluation prior to the start of their employment, plus provide immunization records for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis B, and Tdap. As of November 2020, the University of California requires "all members of the UC community to receive an influenza immunization...if planning to be on UC premises for work-related purposes."
Rake has been an outspoken opponent against COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the past.
On Aug. 29, Rake delivered a speech at an anti-vaccine mandate rally in Santa Monica.
"Last year I put my life on the line, I put on all the protective equipment, I dealt with COVID patients and very carefully, painstakingly tried to take off that equipment — making sure I didn't get infected and bring some deadly disease home to my wife and my kids," the doctor told the crowd. "And now this year, I'm a zero. This year they want to force a vaccination or medication treatment into my body that I don't want."
Rake continued, "So they're telling me, 'You take the jab or we take your job.' I'm here to say, 'No, that's not OK.'"
"We want vaccinated people with us too," he added. "They deserve medical freedom. If they want to choose the vaccine, they should have that right. If they want to deny it, they should have that right."
He stressed that vaccinated Americans "are not the enemy."
According to Beverly Hills Courier reporter Samuel Braslow, Rake previously spoke out against COVID-19 vaccine mandates at a rally outside the Los Angeles City Hall.
"I have told my workplace I will not take the religious exemption," Rake is seen on video saying. "I'm standing on the Constitution, and I'm standing on human rights, and I'm standing with all my friends who are atheists, I'm standing with everyone who can't claim that exemption."
At the time of publication, Rake's profile on the UC Health website was still active.
Rake received his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in 2004 and completed his residency at the UCLA School of Medicine in 2009. He has been a board-certified anesthesiologist since 2010.