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Health experts recommend paying close attention to when COVID-19 antigen tests expire

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Posted at 8:47 PM, Jan 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 02:30:41-05

With free at-home COVID-19 test kits arriving in mailboxes thanks to a pledge made by the Biden administration, one thing people may not realize is that these kits expire.

It begs the following question: what is the shelf life of a test kit? Community members shared what their approximation was.

“I’m hoping it’s more than a month?" said Jaime Flores.

“Like six months? I don’t know I didn’t even know they had expiration dates," said Cal Poly student Tori Gordon.

The test kits' expiration date actually depends on the brand.

 “Well as you know there are many different types of rapid tests out there and each one of them is unique," said Dr. Brian Roberts, who is Med Stop Urgent Care Madonna Plaza's medical director. "They have their own expiration date and recently some of them have lengthened them they used to be around six months many of them are over a year now."

On the test kit box, there is a manufacturer date and an expiration date signified by an hourglass, which is the date the test is set to expire.

Dr. Roberts said that with an expired test the accuracy decreases but that does not matter with a positive result.

“When they are positive they are still valuable, so if you used an expired test and it was positive, you could believe that answer. You could not believe a negative," said Roberts.

Dr. Roberts added if you receive a negative result with an expired test, follow up with another rapid test two to three days after.

Another thing Dr. Roberts mentioned is that it is very important to follow the instructions on the tests kit to the letter to make sure it is done correctly. Also, pay close attention to the temperature they are stored in.

To order four free COVID-19 rapid tests through the Biden Administration, you can go to this website.