How to Conduct a Rapid Community Assessment

A Guide to Understanding Your Community’s Needs Regarding COVID-19 Vaccines

People walking with city background

Rapid community assessment (RCA) is a process for quickly collecting community insights about a public health issue in order to inform program design. The assessment involves reviewing existing data and conducting community-based interviews, listening sessions, observations, social listening, and surveys.

On this page, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares an assessment guide and tools for those who wish to better understand their community’s needs regarding COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake among adults, adolescents, and children.

Why Should You Conduct a Rapid Community Assessment?
Download Rapid Community Assessment Guides
COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Rapid Community Assessment Guide

Full Rapid Community Assessment Guide

  • To identify communities at risk for low COVID-19 vaccine uptake among adults, adolescents, or children.
  • To understand what communities are thinking about COVID-19 vaccines for adults, adolescents, and children, and plan for potential solutions to increase confidence and uptake.
  • To identify community leaders, trusted messengers, and other important channels through which you can reach communities.
  • To identify areas of intervention and prioritize potential intervention strategies to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake.
How Long Does It Take to Conduct a Rapid Community Assessment?

Sample Rapid Community Assessment

Preparatory Phase:

Prior to starting a rapid community assessment, get support from the leadership of your health department, coalition, or organization for conducting the assessment and creating a plan for action. Early awareness and support from leadership makes it more likely findings will be put to good use in planning and guiding vaccination efforts.

Week 1: Planning and Buy-In

  • Identify main objectives and your community(ies) of focus.
  • Identify and form assessment team.
  • Review existing data.

Week 2: Implementation and Analysis

  • Use decision tool to identify data collection methods.
  • Conduct data collection.
  • Synthesize key findings across different tools and identify interventions for prioritization.

Week 3: Report Findings and Plan for Action

  • Write report (narrative, one-page summary, slide presentation).
  • Share/report out assessment results with the assessment team and wider community (department of health officials, healthcare providers, school officials, and other partners).
  • Prioritize solutions and develop implementation plans.
  • Evaluate your efforts and plan for future community engagement.
Rapid Community Assessment Tools
image of 3 pages from the Rapid Community Assessment Tool

Download, edit, or print Word versions of the tools:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Learning Template
  • Implementation Guide for Community Interviews and Listening Sessions
  • Observation
  • Intercept Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Social Listening and Monitoring Tools
  • Insights Synthesis Tool

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Page last reviewed: November 30, 2021