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FDA approves Florida's use of expired COVID testing kits

The FDA extended the shelf life to March 2022.

FLORIDA, USA — During an unprecedented demand for COVID testing due to the omicron variant, Florida has secured an extension of the expiration dates for the nearly one million test kits that recently expired.

The Food and Drug Administration is saying those expired tests can still be used. According to documents provided by FDOH, the FDA approved extending the shelf life of expired BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card tests by three months.

That means the new expiration date is March 2022. 

Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie previously confirmed that anywhere between 800,000 to a million test kits had expired in December due to a lack of demand at the time.

DOH Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern would later add to Guthrie's explanation, saying the tests were not designed for individual use. He said the tests required trained individuals, "with one testing solution for every 40 tests." 

The FDA's decision to extend the shelf-life of COVID tests is nothing new. According to Redfern, the FDA previously extended the shelf life of the same testing kits back in April 2021. 

With the new extension, Redfern says those tests will now be heading to "county emergency management offices, county health departments, public safety agencies, hospitals and long-term care facilities."

Since July 1, 2021, Redfern says the health department has distributed 3.4 million tests statewide.