A popular SoulCycle instructor is apologizing for “a terrible error in judgment” after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Stacey Griffith, a New York-based instructor, said she drove one hour to Staten Island to get the Moderna vaccine, according to an Instagram post that has since been deleted but circulated online, credited to Griffith’s account.
“Now I can teach @soulcycle with a little more faith that we’re all gonna be ok if we get the (vaccine),” her post read.
After her post and telling The Daily Beast that her role as an “educator” made her eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, many were outraged with her decision because of how difficult it has been for other, vulnerable groups to get it themselves.
CNN reached out to Griffith but has not heard back.
Griffith, a senior master instructor at SoulCycle, has been teaching sold-out classes in both L.A. and New York for over 20 years, according to her instructor profile on the company website.
SoulCycle, however, has distanced itself from Griffith’s actions.
“Stacey Griffith operated in a personal capacity in applying for a NY State COVID-19 vaccine,” a SoulCycle spokesperson told CNN in a statement Wednesday. “SoulCycle plays no role in organizing or obtaining vaccinations for instructors or other employees nor do we encourage any of our SoulCycle employees to seek vaccine priority as educators.”
During a news conference Saturday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about the vaccination gap in Black and Latino vs White communities and said he sees a “profound disparity that needs to be addressed aggressively and creatively.”
A reporter asked about the vetting process for people signing up to get the vaccine — currently, the state’s “Phase 1B” eligibility list includes people aged 65 and older, public-facing grocery store workers, first-responders, correctional facilities, education workers, public transit workers and people living and working in homeless shelters.
De Blasio was asked specifically about Griffith’s eligibility to have gotten through the Phase 1B process.
“Doesn’t sound like someone who should have gotten vaccinated to me,” de Blasio said. “I don’t think someone who shows up and says, ‘Hey, I’m a SoulCycle instructor,’ should have qualified unless there’s some other factor there. That should have been caught in the application process.”
New York City’s Department of Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi added that they weren’t aware of the details around this specific incident, but in terms of the overall process, every person is responsible for proving their eligibility at the vaccination site and if they aren’t able to, they would be turned away.
Chokshi said that he was at the same Staten Island vaccination site on Friday as Griffith and saw the eligibility screening process was being followed by administrators.
On Monday, Griffith made a public statement on her Instagram page.
“I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for my recent action in receiving the vaccine,” she wrote. “I made a terrible error in judgment and for that I am truly sorry.”