PORTUGUESE COVE, N.S. –
After telling parents expired take-home COVID-19 test kits were still good for 12 months after the printed expiry date, the province now admits it’s now not so sure.
After the manufacturer – BD Life Sciences — told CTV News on Wednesday the kits expire in half that time.
“So, one kit would expire in December and one kit would expire in November,” said parent Allie White.
White had already used one before she heard the news.
“If hadn’t read this piece of paper,” White said. “I wouldn’t have thought to check the expiration date on these, you know what I mean? I just thought, ‘oh great’!”
Now, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health blames conflicting information from both the manufacturer and Health Canada.
“Let’s everybody get on the same page, is it six months, or is it twelve months?” said Dr. Robert Strang.
Public health is now working to get a definitive answer, while at the same time emphasizing all the kits are good to use right now.
The earliest some are expected to expire is now Nov. 18.
“We’ll either extend the expiry date, depending on what direction we get, or we’ll give you new kits with a longer expiry date,” Strang said.
Schools throughout the province have handed out thousands of the take-home kits to students.
Health Canada says the BD Veritor test is not authorized for self-testing, but Strang says this kind of “off label” use is common.
“Health Canada is actually giving us these kits, we’re telling them how we’re using them, and they’re fully supportive,” Strang said.
The province distributed 320,000 of the tests to students under 12 as part of a pilot project.
Nova Scotia’s minister of education says there’s no reason not to continue to use the BD tests moving forward.
“We have no cause for concern over the quality of these tests so there’s nothing now that causes us to worry about that,” said Education Minister Becky Druhan.
For White, the whole thing has been yet another perplexing new experience among many in this pandemic.