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Public health: Expired take-home COVID tests being distributed safe to use

The expiry dates on the tests have been extended by Health Canada, say officials
Rapid Test Kits
The expiry dates on some rapid test kits being handed out by public health may have already passed, but Health Canada has approved an addition 4-10 months of shelf life.

REGINA — Saskatchewan officials are saying that rapid test kits with already-past expiry dates being distributed by public health are still safe to use, following some concerns expressed by the public.

Several individuals in Regina took to social media after receiving rapid tests from public health clinics, after realizing the expiry dates printed on the test boxes were already past.

In response, the Saskatchewan Health Authority issued a short statement on social media on Monday, stating the kits were safe to use due to a shelf-life extension issued by Health Canada on Oct. 18.

According to the details shared on the federal government’s website, Health Canada has approved the shelf-life of the BD Veritor System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2 — the take-home rapid tests currently provided to Saskatchewan throug federal allocations — to 16 months from 12 months.

A letter is meant to be included with the kits explaining the extension, said the SHA, but was erroneously left out from some.

Marlo Pritchard, president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and operations lead at the PEOC, confirmed the SHA’s statement during a technical briefing on Dec. 7.

“Those tests are safe and they are accurate,” said Pritchard. “Health Canada has reviewed it and has authorized extending the shelf life, and they are safe to use.”

Test kits with an expiry date ending in 2021 can be safely used for up to ten more months, said Pritchard. Tests expiring in 2022 have an additional 4 months of shelf-life.

The PEOC was unable to confirm how many test kits with extended expiry dates the province currently has in its possession, yet to be distributed.