We examined how personal values, beliefs and concerns about COVID-19, and socio-demographics, relate to two important COVID-19 preventative behaviors: willingness to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and social distancing, in 1413 Australian adults. As expected, social focus values influenced the extent of compliance with these preventative behaviors, even when controlling for beliefs and concerns about COVID-19 and socio-demographics. We also examined the persuasiveness of four different value-expressive messages promoting social distancing, in a subsample of 737 Australian adults. We found that the message expressing self-transcendence values was ranked most persuasive by 77% of respondents. However, as hypothesized, personal values were related to message persuasiveness. As the importance ascribed to social focus values increased, the likelihood that the self-transcendence message was ranked as most persuasive increased. In contrast, the likelihood that the openness to change message was ranked as most persuasive increased for those who ascribed lesser importance to social focus values. Our findings can help the framing of government messaging around preventative behaviors, including maintaining social distancing in vaccinated populations who may still spread the disease, and preventing COVID-19 spread by or to vaccine refusers.