Did you know that at-home COVID-19 tests have expiration dates?
The expiration dates help ensure you can identify test kits that — due to age — may no longer give you accurate results.
For example, if you ordered free COVID-19 tests from the federal government, you’ll have an expiration date printed on the box, likely saying they expire around July or August of 2022.
However, the expiration date on the package might not be accurate.
We now know that tests may have a longer shelf life than previously thought, or they may not have any expiration date at all. Some tests that are past their expiration date will still provide accurate results.
The expiration date discrepancy is due to the rush to get COVID-19 tests distributed quickly.
For the first distribution, manufacturers worked with the FDA to include a safe, short product expiration date, to ensure the product would not expire. Then they worked to collect more data on how long the test kits would actually last so they could extend the kit shelf-life dates.
As companies continue to test the products, they’ve learned they can extend the shelf life safely. As safety testing continues, we may see the shelf life continue to extend.
What does this mean for you?
“If you have an at-home COVID-19 test kit that shows it is expired or about to expire based on what is printed on the box, check online at the FDA website to make sure before you throw it out,” says Kevin Hunt, NHC’s Director of Supply Chain and Support Services.
While many tests have extended expiration dates, the FDA recommends following their guidelines on expiration date extensions for the most accurate test results. As more data is collected, test expiration dates may be extended again.