Nova Scotia students in kindergarten through sixth grade received rapid test kits to take home this week as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, but the expiration date of those tests raises concern among some parents.
Stephanie Sudsbury’s four-year-old son recently came home from kindergarten with the rapid test kits, immediately reading the notes on what symptoms to look for and how to administer the test if needed.
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“At that point I didn’t look at the expiration date on the test, I didn’t even think about it because in my mind, I’m just getting that test, the last thing I’m going to do is look at that expiration date,” she said.
“I was hoping it would be good at least during the school year.”
However, after seeing discussions online about sending expired kits home, Lower Sackville’s father decided to verify his.
She said she was “shocked” to see that hers expired on May 18 of this year.
Included in the test kits was a note from the province explaining that the manufacturer has extended the expiration date by one year.
But in an email to Global News, a BD Life Sciences spokesperson wrote that while the tests were initially approved for a six-month shelf life, they are now valid for 12 months. That translates to six months after the printed expiration date.
“Therefore, any kit with an expiration date of May 18, 2021 has been extended by six months and the new expiration date would be November 18, 2021,” wrote Troy Kirkpatrick.
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Nova Scotia’s medical director of health said he is investigating the discrepancy.
“We have received a communication that has told us six months, another has told us 12 months, so we go back to Health Canada and the manufacturers and we say, ‘What is it? Is it six months or 12 months? Give us a clarification, ‘”he said.
Regardless of which one is correct, Strang said it’s important for parents to know that no tests have expired yet.
“The earliest expiration date is November 18, so those kits can be used safely today,” he explained.
“We are working to clarify the potential for extending the expiration date of those kits.”
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With all the confusion, Sudsbury said she decided to skip the take-home tests entirely.
“I think my best option would be if he shows symptoms or a close contact, obviously going to be tested at the appropriate clinic, not testing at home,” she said.
“Why test him at home if he may or may not be wrong?”
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