Priority populations’ experiences of isolation, quarantine and distancing for COVID-19: protocol for a longitudinal cohort study (Optimise Study)

Alisa Pedrana*, Anna Bowring, Katherine Heath, Alexander J Thomas, Anna Wilkinson, Stephanie Fletcher-Lartey, Freya Saich, Stephanie Munari, Jane Oliver, Bronwen Merner, Aimee Altermatt, Thi Nguyen, Long Nguyen, Kathryn Young, Phoebe Kerr, Deborah Osborne, Edwin Jit Leung Kwong, Martha Vazquez Corona, Tianhui Ke, Yanqin ZhangLimya Eisa, Adil Al-Qassas, Deng Malith, Angela Davis, Lisa Gibbs, Karen Block, Danielle Horyniak, Jack Wallace, Robert Power, Danny Vadasz, Rebecca Ryan, Freya Shearer, Caroline Homer, Alexander Collie, Niamh Meagher, Margaret Danchin, Jessica Kaufman, Peng Wang, Ali Hassani, Giovanni Radhitio Putra Sadewo, Garry Robins, Colin Gallagher, Petr Matous, Bopha Roden, Maedeh Aboutalebi Karkavandi, James Coutinho, Chiara Broccatelli, Johan Koskinen, Stephanie Curtis, Joseph S Doyle, Nicholas Geard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Introduction: Longitudinal studies can provide timely and accurate information to evaluate and inform COVID-19 control and mitigation strategies and future pandemic preparedness. The Optimise Study is a multidisciplinary research platform established in the Australian state of Victoria in September 2020 to collect epidemiological, social, psychological and behavioural data from priority populations. It aims to understand changing public attitudes, behaviours and experiences of COVID-19 and inform epidemic modelling and support responsive government policy.
Methods and analysis: This protocol paper describes the data collection procedures for the Optimise Study, an ongoing longitudinal cohort of ~1000 Victorian adults and their social networks. Participants are recruited using snowball sampling with a set of seeds and two waves of snowball recruitment. Seeds are purposively selected from priority groups, including recent COVID-19 cases and close contacts and people at heightened risk of infection and/or adverse outcomes of COVID-19 infection and/or public health measures. Participants complete a schedule of monthly quantitative surveys and daily diaries for up to 24 months, plus additional surveys annually for up to 48 months. Cohort participants are recruited for qualitative interviews at key time points to enable in-depth exploration of people’s lived experiences. Separately, community representatives are invited to participate in community engagement groups, which review and interpret research findings to inform policy and practice recommendations.
Ethics and dissemination: The Optimise longitudinal cohort and qualitative interviews are approved by the Alfred Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee (# 333/20). The Optimise Study CEG is approved by the La Trobe University Human Ethics Committee (# HEC20532). All participants provide informed verbal consent to enter the cohort, with additional consent provided prior to any of the sub studies. Study findings will be disseminated through public website ( and through peer-reviewed publications.Trial registration number NCT05323799.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere076907
Number of pages14
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2024


  • COVID-19


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