J.B. Pritzker.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker this noon said he plans to increase the COVID-19 vaccine priority for persons age 65 to 74 and plans to call on state national guard troops to aid in distribution.

That will add about 1.1 million Illinois residents to those in the “1b” priority group and is a departure from the guidelines recommended by the federal government.

Pritzker said the change is being done in part to improve the equity of vaccine distribution, noting that minority group members have generally been dying at younger ages from the coronavirus disease.

Nearly 10 million Illinois residents are now scheduled to eventually receive vaccinations. Pritzker said he hopes that with the expected imposition of the defense production act by incoming president Joe Biden the amount of vaccine the state receives will increase from about 120,000 doses per week now to perhaps a half million doses per week.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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