Celeb-Loved SoulCycle Instructor Apologizes After Calling Herself an 'Educator' to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

SoulCycle instructor Stacey Griffith is apologizing for calling herself an "educator" to receive the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.

Griffith, 52, posted about receiving the vaccine in New York on Friday, but deleted the post after backlash.

According to a screen grab of the post captured by The Daily Beast, Griffith shared a photo of herself getting the shot, along with the caption "VACCINE DAY! Step one of the Moderna magic!! One hour drive to STATEN ISLAND worth every minute! It takes a village."

She also tagged several people for "helping me keep my patience when it comes to filling out online forms, sending in paperwork, and keeping my patience."

Elsewhere in the caption she had added, "Now I can teach @soulcycle with a little more faith that we're all gonna be ok if we get the [syringe emoji]!"

On Monday Griffith shared an apology on Instagram.

"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 judgement and for that I am truly sorry."

Griffith, whose NYC spin classes are often attended by celebrities like Kelly Ripa, told The Daily Beast that she was able to receive the vaccine because she is an "educator."

According to the New York City Health Department, those currently eligible to receive the vaccine include "people ages 65 and older; teachers, school staff, in-person college instructors and child care workers; correction staff; first responders; public transit workers; public-facing grocery story workers; [and] people working and living in group homeless shelters and other group settings."

Fitness instructors are not named in any of the groups in any phase eligible to receive the vaccine before the general public named on the city's health department website.

"Having me vaccinated can stop the short spread within groups!" Griffith told The Daily Beast on Friday.

"I function as a common point for many overlapping people. In my profession of health and wellness as a teacher, it's my priority daily to keep my community and their respiratory systems operating at full capacity so they can beat this virus if they are infected by it. I can only teach to them if I am healthy myself."

"All teachers are eligible to apply for the vaccine," she continued. "My post today was to show my confidence in the system, in our government, and I hope everyone can at least feel more at ease knowing I went through the process!"

A spokesperson for SoulCycle told the outlet that the company has no role in instructors getting the vaccine.

"Stacey Griffith operated in a personal capacity in applying for a NY State COVID-19 vaccine," the spokesperson said. "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."

On Monday, SoulCycle sent out a memo to employees saying that instructors do not qualify for the vaccine, Vox reported.

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"SoulCycle instructors do not qualify as educators to receive the vaccine based solely on their roles at SoulCycle and should not be attempting to receive the vaccine unless they are otherwise eligible to do so, based on appropriate state regulations," the memo reportedly said.

SoulCycle did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed Griffith's reception of the vaccine over the weekend, saying that she did not sound like someone who was eligible.

"Doesn't sound like someone who should've gotten vaccinated to me," he said during a press conference on Sunday. "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."

There have been several problems with vaccine distribution in New York, and last week de Blasio said that the city "had to reschedule 23,000 New Yorkers, and tell them that they will not be able to get that appointment due to lack of supply."

There is also a large racial disparity in who is receiving the vaccine in New York, with data showing Latino and Black residents being vastly underrepresented, the New York Times reported Sunday.

The general public will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine in New York when the city enters "Phase 2" of the rollout process, which likely won't be until this summer.

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