The logic of vaccine mandates eludes me, particularly in the health care sphere.
The country is, at present, gearing up for what should be (God willing) the last major winter wave of COVID-19. It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment for the frontline medical professionals — the ones who braved SARS-CoV-2 in its early stages, the ones Americans applauded from apartment balconies in those grim, confusing early days.
The administration and some politicians — usually Democrats — are convinced that zero-tolerance vaccine mandates are one of the critical components when it comes to blunting the force of that wave. Plenty don’t agree. Some COVID survivors — and researchers — maintain that natural immunity provides more protection than the vaccine does.
Some have moral objections to the vaccine. Some don’t trust the speed with which it was developed. Some believe the mandates to be an infringement on bodily autonomy.
Does the reasoning behind vaccine mandates hold water? Does it matter? The point is that forcing the recalcitrant is a difficult task for the COVID hawks on the left, particularly given their dire predictions about ICU usage this winter and a labor shortage that doesn’t seem to be abating. The solution, therefore, is to force health care professionals to take the vaccine or consider themselves out of a job as we approach the all-hands-on-deck moment.
You may perhaps begin to see the problem here. Granted, the intent was to force unvaccinated health care professionals to swallow their objections and take one for the team. Instead, the practical effect is that the team is getting winnowed down — as proven by the case of Dr. Christopher Rake.
According to The Sacramento Bee, Rake is an anesthesiologist at UCLA Health hospital system in Los Angeles who has become a vocal social media critic of COVID vaccines. UCLA Health executives decided they had had enough of that and had him escorted him out of his workplace Oct. 4 — but not without Rake livestreaming the whole affair.
“They are escorting me out of the building,” Rake said in the video, posted to Twitter on Tuesday by Beverly Hills Courier staff writer Samuel Braslow. The doctor asked for the title of the men escorting him out, although he didn’t get it.
Do you support this doctor?
“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, turning the camera on himself.
Then he sketched out his plan: He’s going to keep fighting the mandatory vaccination regime, no matter what it costs him.
“But what they don’t realize is that I’m willing to go lose everything,” he said. “Job, paycheck, freedom, even my life for this cause.”
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.” pic.twitter.com/7AxUX4uyeF
— Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) October 6, 2021
“Be well. United we stand, divided we fall,” Rake concluded.
The UCLA Health System requires workers to have a COVID-19 vaccination or “an exemption in accordance with University of California policy and a state public health order issued on Aug. 5,” which only exempts workers on the basis of religious beliefs or medical reasons,” according to the Bee.
“Those out of compliance are subject to progressive discipline, including restricting access to work sites and being placed on leave,” a UCLA representative told McClatchy Newspapers, the Bee’s parent company.
Rake’s profile was still listed on UCLA Health’s website as of Monday morning Eastern Time, indicating he hadn’t been terminated. However, there’s been ample time for “progressive discipline,” given he began speaking out against vaccines publicly as early as August.
While he was once a frontline hero for his work with COVID, Rake said at an anti-vaccination rally in Santa Monica Aug. 29, “this year I’m a zero.”
“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,’” Rake said.
“And I’m here to say no. That’s not OK.”
He also urged those who are vaccinated to consider the implications of vaccine mandates and said he wanted them with the cause “because they deserve medical freedom.”
“Many of them are going to wake up when the government says, ‘hey, by the way, you need a third booster shot,’” Rake said. “And you know, they say, ‘I felt pretty bad after that second one, can I just pass?’ No. You are now out of alignment with what the government wants and cannot go to your child’s baseball game, you can’t go to the movie theater, you can’t go to the grocery store. They’re going to take everything away.”
UCLA Health responded with a tweet saying, “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.”
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.
— UCLA Health (@UCLAHealth) August 31, 2021
I’m not a medical expert, but I don’t agree with Dr. Rake’s position — and it’s a moot point anyway, given the fact I’m fully vaccinated and I’m unaware of any way to pull the Pfizer solution out of my arm at this point.
However, I agree with Dr. Rake’s ability to state his position — and to live by it. If UCLA Health was testing him, there was no reason to escort him off of their property. He plays no role in administering or championing vaccines. He plays a vital role in the operation of the emergency room. This shouldn’t be difficult.
And yet, it is. Because of vaccine mandates in health care, hospitals have lacked the requisite nurses needed to deliver babies. Outside the medical field, law enforcement officers are leaving their jobs. Experienced members of the military are considering leaving the service.
We once celebrated our frontline medical workers for keeping us alive. Now we have to hope there are enough of them left as we’re told COVID cases are “overwhelming hospitals” — all because of what the vaccine mandate hath wrought.