The petition, created on January 11 by Dr. Marty Teltscher, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital, urges the government to follow scientific data on administering second doses of the vaccine, as well as the manufacturers' suggested schedule.
Stage 1/2 trials ... demonstrate that effective immunologic response is not established until a booster dose is administered.
On Thursday, Public Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that the province would administer second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 42 to 90 days after the initial dose, rather than the recommended 21 to 28 days.
"This vaccination schedule deviates from that which has been studied in clinical trials ... used for emergency authorization by Health Canada, and that which is still endorsed by manufacturers of the vaccine," the petition states.
Dr. Richard Massé, strategic medical advisor to Quebec public health, said that postponing the second dose by up to 90 days means an additional 500,000 or more at-risk Quebecers could receive the first dose sooner.
He also claimed the first dose alone offers 90% protection from the novel coronavirus.
However, a study in the New England Review of Medicine found that between doses the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 52% effective.
"In our context, this is the best strategy, because we have to deal with [having] very few vaccines [available]," Dubé told Quebecers.
"The more doses that we have, the more we will be able to reduce the time between the first and second [doses]."
On January 15, Dubé tweeted that Pfizer had reduced its production capacity, meaning 86,775 of the 176,475 doses expected February 8 would not be delivered to Quebec.
He said the government is currently working on a revised distribution plan.