A SoulCycle instructor who got a COVID vaccine in New York is fanning fears that people who are rich and well-connected will be able to jump the line
For more than a decade, Stacey Griffith has been one of the top instructors at SoulCycle in New York. Her classes consistently sell out, which means, according to Vox, that she makes $800 per 45 minute class. And last week, Griffith shared an Instagram post saying she got the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by classifying herself as an “educator.” Amid a chaotic vaccine rollout, this is what we all were afraid would happen — that the rich and well-connected would exploit loopholes to skip ahead of the vaccine line.
“Now I can teach SoulCycle with a little more faith that we’re all gonna be okay,” Griffith wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post, where she thanked five people who helped her in “filling out online forms” and “submitting paperwork” to get the vaccine.
Griffith got vaccinated in New York City’s Staten Island borough, which is in the city health department’s Phase 1B for vaccine roll-out. That means that currently, health care workers, grocery store staffers, residents over 65, and teachers are eligible to be vaccinated. As a SoulCycle instructor, Griffith is not eligible in New York City, but she told news outlets that she claimed on her forms that she is an “educator” who is working to “keep my community and their respiratory systems operating at full capacity so they can beat this virus if they are infected by it.”
Griffith was heavily criticized in the comments of her Instagram post before she took it down. People rightly wanted to know why she got a vaccine ahead of people who need it because of their age, pre-existing health conditions, or risky job environments. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio even addressed the scandal during a press conference over the weekend.
“Doesn’t sound like someone who should’ve gotten vaccinated to me,” he 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.”
SoulCycle has released a statement distancing itself from Griffith and discouraging its employees from claiming to be educators in order to get vaccinated.
“Stacey Griffith operated in a personal capacity in applying for a NY State COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement read. “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.”
SoulCycle’s CEO sent a memo to staffers that read, “… 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.”