What happens if you get an expired rapid test kit in B.C.?

·2 min read
Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health confirmed some British Columbians may have received mislabelled rapid test kits that are valid up to 10 months past their printed expiry dates. (Theresa Kliem/CBC - image credit)
Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health confirmed some British Columbians may have received mislabelled rapid test kits that are valid up to 10 months past their printed expiry dates. (Theresa Kliem/CBC - image credit)

Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health have confirmed some British Columbians may have received rapid test kits that appear to be expired, but are technically still valid.

Both health authorities said in separate statements that a revised expiry date label, indicating the new extended shelf life for certain tests, was not added to some individual test kits at Lower Mainland testing sites.

So what happens if you've received one of these tests?

Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health said every rapid antigen test or RAT given out at their testing sites is deemed safe for use within its expiry date — or amended date as determined by Health Canada.

According to Health Canada's website, for kits with the reference number 256089, if the expiry date specifies the year 2021, an additional 10 months can be added to that date.

For example, if you have a rapid test with a June 9, 2021 expiry date, it would still be valid for use until April 9, 2022.

If the expiry date specifies the year 2022, users can tack on another four months. This means a product with a Jan. 9, 2022 expiry date actually expires May 9, 2022.

For devices with the reference number 256082, the amended expiry date is 10 months after the date on the label.

Vancouver Coastal Health said measures have been put in place to ensure all testing kits are correctly labelled going forward, and apologized for the confusion or concern the incorrect labels may have caused.

Fraser Health also apologized for the mix-up, and said all kits are now properly labelled with revised expiration dates.

Rapid tests are performed using a swab to collect a sample from each nostril, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website, which provides instructions for how to use each type of RAT available in the province.

If you feel unwell and are unsure about your symptoms, the BCCDC recommends using the Self-Assessment Tool, contacting your health care provider or calling 8-1-1 for help.

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