"We should not be shaming anyone who gets this vaccine that will help America get back on track," Amanda Kloots tells PEOPLE

By Claudia Harmata and Mia McNiece
February 20, 2021 01:10 PM
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Credit: Mike Rosenthal

Amanda Kloots has a message for those criticizing her for recently getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Friday, the 38-year-old fitness instructor — whose husband Nick Cordero died in July 2020 after contracting the virus and spending more than 90 days in the hospital — shared on social media that was able to receive her first dose of the vaccine.

In Los Angeles, only essential workers and people over 65 years old are currently eligible to book appointments for the vaccine. Her post prompted a backlash from followers who accused her of jumping the line.

"I think it's crazy that people are trying to make this a scandalous thing," Kloots tells PEOPLE exclusively on Saturday.

"Anyone can do what I did," the mom of one says. "The more arms that we get this vaccine in, the better. I took my chance and went with two of my friends to a vaccination site in east L.A. We waited in a long line and hoped. After all the appointments were finished, we asked if they had any vaccines left, because if they have extra vaccines, they want to put it in arms instead of getting rid of it. And they said, 'We have extra vaccines for you.' I immediately got the chills and started crying."

Credit: amanda kloots/instagram

Getting the vaccine was a special moment for Kloots, especially after losing her husband to the very disease it will protect her from.

"We took a chance like I said, and anyone can try — and the fact that there was some backlash, took away this beautiful and emotional moment for me," The Talk host tells PEOPLE. "Vaccine shaming should not be happening especially when you are waiting in line and that it would otherwise have been thrown out."

"I am just happy and extremely grateful that we took a chance, and it could easily not have worked out," Kloots continues. "We could have been turned away and that would have been fine. People have been doing this and you just have to be willing to wait. Every arm this vaccine goes into is a beautiful thing. We should not be shaming anyone who gets this vaccine that will help America get back on track."

While receiving her first COVID vaccine shot, Kloots shared a photo on Instagram, writing how grateful she was to get the immunization.

Amanda Kloots
| Credit: amanda kloots/instagram

"I have been terrified since Nick has passed, as a single mother, of getting this virus and now I am one step closer to safety," she wrote.

Cordero died at age 41 in early July after spending more than three months in the intensive care unit at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for complications related to COVID-19.

Credit: Ashley Becker

During his 95 days in the hospital, 42 of which were spent in a medically induced coma, the Broadway star faced a series of unpredictable complications that led to septic shock and required him to have his right leg amputated.

Kloots also addressed her critics in a series of videos on her Instagram Story on Friday.

"Vaccine shaming should not happen. Everyone should be getting this vaccine, and anyone that gets it, we should be celebrating that one more person has got the vaccine," she said.