Hamilton County Board of Elections campus transforms into COVID-19 vaccine site

Turnout up in second election since Hamilton County Board of Elections moved to Norwood
Posted at 9:56 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 11:47:14-05

NORWOOD, Ohio — Starting Friday, Hamilton County will add a new, centralized COVID-19 vaccination site at the county’s Board of Elections campus in Norwood.

Shots will be administered at the board’s 2300 Wall St. facility, featuring plenty of space and surrounding infrastructure.

Board of Elections Executive Director Sherry Poland said the idea to use the space to distribute COVID-19 vaccines started with a voter's suggestion on social media.

"At the time, we here at the Board got a little bit of a chuckle about that,” Poland said. “We thought, 'We do elections. We'll leave the vaccine to the healthcare professionals.'"

But starting Friday, that suggestion becomes a reality.

"The more we started to think about it, we thought, well, we may have some resources that we can partner with the public health department to help, and it sort of just unfolded from there,” Poland said.

The 15,000-square-foot space was used for early voting in the 2020 election, which required more space for social distancing amid the pandemic. It has plenty of parking and access to public transportation, and it can even stay in place during the upcoming May election.

"During early voting, we were able to process 600 voters an hour, and that's maintaining six-foot social distancing," she said.

But, officials said, it still has one major need: enough vaccine doses to go around.

That's the issue Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the whole state is grappling with in the midst of the supposed vaccine stockpile falling short. He and governors across the country are appealing to the Biden administration for help.

"We have over 2,000 entities that are willing to be our partners, and we're only using now 700 and something -- just because we don't have enough vaccine,” DeWine said at his Thursday briefing.'

MORE: Ohio asks White House for more COVID-19 vaccine doses

The governor said it's a problem unlikely to be resolved until a third COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, administered in one shot rather than two, is approved for use. As the number of those eligible to get vaccinated grows each passing week, the supply level will remain where it is for now.

"The way out of this in the end will be the vaccine,” said DeWine. “The faster we can get the vaccine in, that's our goal."

To make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at the Norwood location, you will need to contact Hamilton County Public Health, not the Board of Elections. Find more information on vaccine appointments here.