California Anesthesiologist Escorted Out of Work After Refusing to Get COVID Vaccine

A California doctor wasn't allowed to go to work Monday after he declined to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a video that appears he recorded himself, Dr. Christopher Rake, an anesthesiologist with UCLA, is shown being escorted out of his workplace.

The Los Angeles Times first reported on the incident.

"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 said in the video.

"But what they don't realize is that I'm willing to go lose everything, job, paycheck, freedom, even my life for this cause. Be well. United we stand, divided we fall," he added.

UCLA anesthesiologist Dr. Chris Rake, a COVID-19 vaccine mandate opponent, was escorted out of the UCLA medical plaza yesterday and placed on unpaid administrative leave for refusing to get vaccinated or request an exemption.

“I’m willing to go lose everything…even my life.”

— Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) October 6, 2021

The Los Angeles Times said Rake previously spoke out against the vaccine requirement for health care workers. The report said Rake spoke during an anti-vaccination rally in August and founded Citizens United for Freedom, a group "fighting for medical freedom for all individuals; vaccinated, unvaccinated, religious, non-religious, conservatives and liberals," Rake wrote on the crowdfunding site GiveSendGo.

In August, California mandated that all health care workers receive at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 30.

"Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and the other health care facility types identified in this order are particularly high-risk settings where COVID-19 outbreaks can have severe consequences for vulnerable populations including hospitalization, severe illness, and death," California State Public Health Officer Director Tomás Aragón said when he announced the mandate on August 5.

California Anesthesiologist Declines to Get Vaccine
A California doctor at UCLA Health wasn't allowed to go to work Monday, after he declined to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The entrance to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, located at the University of California, Los Angeles, is viewed on January 15, 2021 in Los Angeles. George Rose

"Per the state public health order and University of California policy, active UCLA Health employees not working remotely must be vaccinated or receive an exemption," a spokesperson for UCLA Health wrote in a statement to Newsweek.

"Those out of compliance are subject to progressive discipline, including restricting access to work sites and being placed on leave."

The spokesperson added that UCLA Health doesn't "discuss personnel matters regarding specific individuals."

With vaccine mandate deadlines coming up—or already past— across the U.S., the New York Times reported Wednesday that only a small number of health care workers have declined to get vaccinated. But some workers have lost their jobs over the mandate.

The UCHealth System in Colorado, for example, fired more than 100 workers this week, and California-based health care provider Kaiser Permanente suspended more than 2,000 employees, the Times reported.

Northwell Health, the largest hospital system in New York, announced this week that it had fired 1,400 workers after the vaccine mandate took effect, the Journal News reported.

Updated 10/07/2021, 10:50 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with a comment from UCLA Health.