About the survey
This survey aims to enable the Health Department (the department) to better meet the needs of Victorians who have had COVID-19 by:
- having more understanding about the impact of ongoing COVID-19 symptoms on the health and quality of life of Victorians (for example, long COVID or post-COVID symptoms)
- using the results for planning health system services and health care for Victorians affected by long COVID or post-COVID-19 symptoms.
More specifically, the survey aims to:
- estimate the proportion of persistent post-COVID-19 (long COVID) symptoms sufferers among Victorians aged 18 years or over
- measure the types of persistent post-COVID-19 (long COVID) symptoms experienced
- assess the proportion who’ve been able to get back to similar levels of daily activities, including work or study, as before their COVID-19 diagnosis
- measure the types of health services used for persistent post-COVID-19 symptoms in the 3 months or more, after a positive diagnosis. This includes measuring their accessibility.
The results from COVID-positive Victorians will be compared with Victorians who have never had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. This is to provide further insight into persistent COVID-19 symptoms, which will be used to plan health services and care.
We have appointed the Social Research Centre to carry out the fieldwork for the Victorian Experience with COVID Health Survey.
To learn more about the long-term symptoms and effects of COVID-19, visit Long on Coronavirus.vic.gov.au
How the survey will be run
The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete.
You can complete the survey:
- through an online questionnaire on your mobile, tablet or computer, or
- over the phone with an interviewer from the Social Research Centre.
It will collect information about:
- your health
- your quality of life
- COVID-19 infection/s (if you have had it)
- some information on who you are
- your access to healthcare
- how your work and life have been affected post-COVID-19.
Who can do the survey?
Of the millions of Victorians who have had COVID-19, the survey is designed to contact a representative sample of 120,000 Victorians. Currently, this means not everyone in the community can do the survey.
The Social Research Centre will invite eligible participants by SMS message, phone, or email to participate in the Victorian Experience with COVID-19 Health Survey. If you've been invited, you can choose to complete the survey online or over the phone with an interviewer.
If you’ve been invited to take part in the survey, your input is important. We value all feedback, even if you have had no ongoing or persistent symptoms, feel fully recovered, or have never had COVID-19. By completing the survey, you will help us better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the health and lives of Victorians. You will also help us plan service provision and care in Victoria, going forward.
Completing the survey is voluntary and you don’t have to give a reason for not taking part. However, it’s important that as many people as possible complete the survey to ensure we collect accurate information.
If you decide to do the survey, you can choose not to answer a particular question. You do not have to give a reason for not answering a question.
Where did we get your details?
The people contacted to do the survey consist of a random selection of:
- Victorian residents aged 18 years or older who are registered with the department as having a positive COVID-19 test from January 2020 to March 2022, or
- Victorian residents aged 18 years or older who are registered with the department as close contacts of someone who had tested positive.
If you’ve been invited to do the survey and would like more information, or to arrange a telephone interview appointment time, please call the survey hotline on 1800 023 040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Any information we collect for the survey will be treated in the strictest confidence. We will ensure that the data is used responsibly, and privacy is safeguarded. No individuals will be identified in the reports produced from the survey data.
The data will be de-identified and combined with other participants’ responses. This data will then be used to answer questions about the impacts of COVID-19 which are of public health interest or for research purposes only.
For more information about what happens to your data, how it is being used, and how we protect your privacy and confidentiality, see the survey's Privacy Collection Notice.
You have been contacted because you were registered as having a positive COVID-19 test or were a close contact of someone who had tested positive for COVID in Victoria.
We appreciate this experience may have been difficult and disruptive for you and thank you for your time in considering this survey.
The Department of Health (the department) is committed to protecting your privacy. The department collects and handles personal and health information in this survey to better understand the longer-term health and quality of life impacts of COVID-19.
Purpose of collection. What information is collected?
For the majority of people who contract COVID-19 the infection is mild and transient. A small number of people report that symptoms after COVID-19 infection are ongoing. We think it is very important to understand how many people have ongoing symptoms and how they are affected.
Even if you have had mild or no COVID-19 symptoms, feel fully recovered, or have never had COVID-19, completing this survey will be useful to better understand what proportion of people have ongoing symptoms.
This survey will collect information on your health today, your health before getting COVID-19 (where relevant), information on who you are, the healthcare you may have received and how your work/life has been affected by COVID-19.
Your participation in the survey is voluntary. There are no consequences with not taking part in the survey. You do not have to give a reason for not participating in the survey. However, for us to collect accurate information, it is important that as many people complete the survey as possible. If you decide to take part in the survey, you can choose not to answer a particular question if you do not wish to do so. You do not have to give a reason for not answering a question.
If you are able to complete this survey, the information will help Victoria’s health system respond to the longer-term needs of those who have had COVID-19.
How will my information be managed?
All information is treated in strict confidence.
The department is the data custodian for the data from this survey. It is the duty of the custodian to ensure that the data is used responsibly and respectfully, and that privacy is safeguarded.
Other government departments, statutory agencies and researchers may request access to the data as an extension of this survey or in the same general area of research. Such access to the data is not automatic. It is granted on a case-by-case basis: only where a survey has received approval from a Human Research Ethics Committee, only for the items needed to answer a particular policy, planning or research question, and usually requires a formal department deed of acknowledgement and confidentiality.
While the survey is being conducted by the Social Research Centre (on behalf of the department), your survey responses and personal information are stored in separate password-protected files. At the end of the survey period, the Social Research Centre is required to forward the information collected to the department for analysis and is required to delete any records of the information collected.
Will my identity be published?
No. Any survey analysis and results, including any published results of the research, will not be capable of identifying you.
Information collected for analysis will be treated confidentially and will be de-identified and combined with other participants’ answers to help understand the impacts of COVID-19 that are of public health interest or for research purposes only. All the results are reported at a summary level only (for example, by age group, by sex, etc). No individuals will be identified in any reports developed on the survey data.
How will the survey data be used?
This information from the survey will be used to understand the medium to longer term impacts of COVID-19 infection on Victorians. The generated insights are expected to inform optimal models of care and system planning to maximise treatment outcomes, quality of life and promote health equality. For example, the data will be used to estimate the proportion (i.e. prevalence) of persistent post COVID-19 (Long COVID) sufferers, which will directly inform service planning. It is anticipated the main findings from the survey will be shared on the department’s website. All the results are reported at a summary level (for example, by age group, by sex etc). No individuals are identified and no individual’s responses are reported. As part of the survey, participants will be asked permission link the information from your survey with health information within the department. The health information you have within the department will provide an even greater resource to help understand COVID-19, the health of Victorians, and the details of the health care Victorians and those impacted by COVID-19 have received.
Can the survey data be used in future research?
If you consent to being recontacted or linking your survey data then your survey data may be used in future research projects. However, if you do not provide such consent then it cannot. Any future research projects undertaken would first have to be approved by a registered Human Research Ethics Committee. All information shared with researchers will be de-identified by removing identifying information from the data i.e., your data would be known to researchers by only a number and not by your name. We are currently not able to provide details of any future research projects because researchers have not yet defined or thought of it. Your participation to be recontacted or to link your health information to this survey is entirely voluntary.
If you find any of the questions to be stressful or upsetting, you may skip them or you may stop immediately. If you become upset or distressed as a result of your participation in the survey, you may seek support through your usual healthcare providers and supports.
For further information on this survey, questions, complaints or to request access for correction of personal information, please contact the Victorian Experience with COVID-19 Health Survey Support Hotline on 1800 023 040 or email email@example.com
You may access your information that you provide to the department. The department can be contacted by email VECHSurvey@vahi.vic.gov.au or you may contact the department’s Privacy Unit by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Survey participant consent will be explained and collected through the survey platform or by the telephone interviewers. You will be asked whether you consent to participate in this survey and the use of your personal and health information as set out in this Notice.
Post survey completion
For further information, see Long on Coronavirus.vic.gov.au
This information will be updated from time to time, so please check back for updates.
How will the department use your information?
Your input to the survey will help the department to better understand post-Covid-19 disease and how we can manage it. We anticipate that the main findings from the survey will be shared on the department’s website. All the results will be reported at a summary level (for example, by age group, by sex). No individuals will be identified in reports produced from the survey data.
At the end of the survey, participants will be asked for permission to link information from their survey with other health information held by the department. Providing your permission is voluntary and does not impact if you can take part in the current survey.
Linking this information will help create an even greater resource to understand:
- the health of Victorians
- details of the health care Victorians and those impacted by COVID-19 have received.
Your information will be treated confidentially and in a de-identified way by removing identifying information from the data (for example, your data would be known by a number only and not by your name).
Completing the survey in another language
In addition to English, the survey is available in the following languages:
- Arabic – العربية
- Punjabi – ਪੰਜਾਬੀ
- Vietnamese - Tiếng Việt
- Turkish – Türkçe
- Hindi – हिन्दी
- Greek – Ελληνικά
- Somali – Somali
- Chinese, Simplified - 简体中文
- Chinese, Traditional - 繁體中文
- Assyrian – ܐܵܬܘܿܪܵܝܵܐ
- Persian - Farsi – فارسی
- Urdu - اردو
If you need a survey in another language, call the Social Research Centre on 1800 023 040.
If you have a question about the survey, you can contact email VECHSurvey@vahi.vic.gov.au
If you would like to arrange a telephone interview appointment time, or for help completing the survey, please call the Victorian Experience with COVID-19 Health Survey hotline on 1800 023 040 or email email@example.com
For more information about the long-term symptoms and effects of COVID-19, visit Long on Coronavirus.vic.gov.au
Reviewed 23 February 2023