Fox19: Federal government offers free home COVID tests through USPS
UC expert offers suggestions on handling possibly outdated COVID-19 tests
The United States government is offering four free COVID -19 test kits per household through COVIDtests.gov. The tests will detect the currently circulating COVID-19 variants and are intended for use through the end of 2023. The kits include instructions on how to verify extended expiration dates. Many kits have had their expiration dates extended beyond what may be printed on the packaging.
Fox19 did a segment on the availability of the tests on the Fox19 Now morning show, featuring Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine.
"I think it's a great idea to get the tests because the ones you may have in your closet that you didn't use those may be expired, and people are going to get COVID again, and the best thing to do is to test yourself when you're not feeling well so that you can find out if you have it, and you can stay away from other people," said Fichtenbaum.
He was asked how people should handle the at-home COVID tests they may still have on hand.
"The best thing you can do is look at the CDC website and look at the box itself to see when the expiration date is," said Fichtenbaum. "When in doubt you can contact the manufacturer to see if it's been extended or not. The best thing is to make sure you are using a test that you know is going to work and be active."
New vaccines are being made available and there are reports that in some cases, the vaccines are difficult to get. Fichtenbaum recommends people check with their healthcare provider or pharmacy to see if they have the vaccine in stock.
"The difference now is that we don't have a central distribution method, we have a normal distribution method and those methods vary from pharmacy to pharmacy or institution to institution," he said. "Some get them sooner, some get them later and it was only really approved and recommended earlier this month."
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