Dutch users on Twitter have recently seen advertisements of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, which has not yet been approved in Europe. They are said to spread falsehoods about competing vaccines,

de Volkskrant

writes on

Tuesday.

Users are suggested to follow the Twitter account @sputnikvaccine (327,000 followers).

Mostly English messages appear on that account promoting the Russian vaccine and describing possible side effects about competitors.

The account is said to be in the hands of an investment fund of the Russian government, the newspaper writes.

The tracking suggestion does state that it has been paid for.

The advertisements of the Russian account are against Dutch law, Frederik Schutte of the Dutch Medicines Advertising Code Foundation (CGR) emphasizes in

the Volkskrant

.

This is because it is not allowed to advertise medicines that are not freely available at the drugstore.

The vaccine is also not yet approved as yet unregistered because it is not yet waiting for approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

According to Schutte, the rules are partly there so that doctors are not put under pressure by patients to prescribe a drug.

Heavy fines for violations

Other vaccine manufacturers have also appeared regularly in the media recently, but according to Schutte they do not actively advertise.

"The medical directors of manufacturers are now suddenly on talk shows, but have to be careful with what they say. That is a good illustration of the exceptional situation we are in now."

There are heavy fines for violating the advertising rules, which can start at 150,000 euros.

Twitter and the fund behind the Spoetnik V advertisements did not want to respond to questions from

the Volkskrant

.

The Russian vaccine is currently still in the final research phase.

Such a

rolling review

is the last step before the developers request approval from the EMA.

Hungary and Slovakia have already ordered doses of the vaccine outside the European Union.

The Russian vaccine from the Gamaleya Institute is said to be 91.6 percent effective against COVID-19, interim results showed in early February.

The vaccine would compete with the vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.

See also: Russia has been vaccinating since December 5, but is the vaccine safe?