Containing a pandemic requires that individuals adhere to measures such as wearing face-masks and getting vaccinated. Therefore, identifying predictors and motives for both behaviors is of importance. Here, we study the decisions made by a cross-national sample in randomized hypothetical scenarios during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results show that mask-wearing was predicted by empathic tendencies, germ aversion, and higher age, whilst belief in misinformation and presentation of an interaction partner as a family member lowered the safety standards. The main motives associated with taking the mask off included: rationalization, facilitating interaction, and comfort. Vaccination intention was positively predicted by empathy, and negatively predicted by belief in misinformation and higher costs of the vaccine. We found no effect of immunization status of the surrounding social group. The most common motive for vaccination was protection of oneself and others, whereas undecided and anti-vaccine groups reported doubts about the effectiveness and fear of side effects. Together, we identify social and psychological predictors and motives of mask-wearing behavior and vaccination intention. The results highlight the importance of social context for mask-wearing, easy access to vaccines, empathy, and trust in publicly distributed information.