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I know what you did last summer: a cross-sectional study of personal COVID-19 risk reduction strategies used by Victorian adults, December 2021-January 2022.

Tse WC, Altermatt A, Saich F, Wilkinson AL, Heath K, Young K, Pedrana A, Hill S, Gibbs L, Stoové M, Gibney KB, Hellard M

  • Journal Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

  • Published 02 Jun 2023

  • Volume 47

  • ISSUE 3

  • Pagination 100068

  • DOI 10.1016/j.anzjph.2023.100068


We describe COVID-19 risk reduction strategies adopted by Victorian adults during December 2021-January 2022, a period of high COVID-19 infection and limited government mandated public health measures.

In February 2022, participants of a Victorian-based cohort study (Optimise) completed a cross-sectional survey on risk reduction behaviours during December 2021-January 2022. Regression modelling estimated the association between risk reduction and demographics.

A total of 556 participants were included (median age 47 years; 75% women; 82% in metropolitan Melbourne). Two-thirds (61%) adopted at least one risk reduction behaviour, with uptake highest among younger participants (18-34 years; adjusted relative risk (aRR): 1.20, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01, 1.41) and those with a chronic health condition (aRR: 1.17, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.35).

Participants adopted their own COVID-19 risk reduction strategies in a setting of limited government restrictions, with young people more likely to adopt a risk reduction strategy that did not limit social mobility.

A public health response to COVID-19 that focusses on promoting personal risk reduction behaviours, as opposed to mandated restrictions, could be enhanced by disseminating information on and increasing availability of effective risk reduction strategies tailored to segments of the population.