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On Friday, Gov. Jim Justice said that after succeeding in getting shots in the arms of about 60% of all adult West Virginians, the state had “hit a wall” in pushing beyond that mark to enhance prospects for herd immunity.

Justice said he had given his staff 24 hours to produce a list of “creative” ideas suitable for speedy rollout. The idea is slightly better than appointing a blue ribbon committee to look into the matter, and, hopefully, will produce results more promising than the governor’s suggestion of setting up injection tents at fairs, festivals and sporting events.

It might be time to break out both the carrot and the stick to provide motivation for non-vaxxers to take the plunge-r.

On the “stick” side, Justice could make proof of vaccination mandatory for citizens to take part in activities that have recently, or soon will, open up. Then he could decree, for instance, “If you want to eat at Bob Evans, eat at Bob Evans. Just show your proof of vaccination certificate at the door.”

On the “carrot” side, he could inform resident anglers with COVID-19 endorsement stamps on their licenses where to meet Division of Natural Resources stocking trucks to get the first crack at newly released trout while non-vaxxers follow empty decoy trucks on long, fruitless road trips.

Or the governor could build upon President Joe Biden’s call to employers Wednesday to provide paid leave time, giving workers an added incentive to take the time to get vaccinated.

Perhaps the state could dispense cash, as well as COVID vaccine, in its tents making the fairs, festivals and sports circuit in coming weeks.

Those getting the shots could choose between on-the-spot $100 bills or $500 state income tax write-offs. It would create a politician’s best outcome — a win-win.

More vaccinations would be dispensed, making everyone safer, while the cash and tax savings would give the state’s economy another COVID-era shot in the arm.

Reach Rick Steelhammer at, 304-348-5169 or follow

@rsteelhammer on Twitter.

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