UCLA Anesthesiologist Escorted From Work After Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine

Lucy Hicks

October 11, 2021

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An anesthesiologist at UCLA Health in Los Angeles was escorted off the medical campus last week after trying to enter the workplace despite being unvaccinated. Christopher Rake, MD, has reportedly been placed on unpaid administrative leave by the health system.

Rake recorded a video of the October 4 incident, which was later posted to twitter. "This is what happens when you stand up for freedom, and when you show up for work, willing to work, despite being unvaccinated. This is the price you have to pay sometimes," he said into camera as an unidentified man wearing a mask walked him off the medical campus. "But what they don’t realize is that I’m willing to go lose everything: job, paycheck, freedom, even my life, for this cause."

Following University of California policy and a state public health order issued August 5, UCLA requires employees who are not working remotely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to receive an exemption, the university said in an emailed statement. The order stated that all in-person employees at healthcare facilities must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 30, or receive an exemption based on religious beliefs or qualifying medical reasons. "Those out of compliance are subject to progressive discipline, including restricting access to work sites and being placed on leave," UCLA Health noted in the statement.

The organization did not confirm whether Rake had applied for exemption, but he was recorded at an anti-vax rally in Santa Monica on August 29 discouraging the crowd from listing religious beliefs as an exemption for the vaccine, saying that the government would restrict their travel. He reportedly ended his speech with a Q-Anon chant.

Medscape Medical News was not able to reach Rake for comment.

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