The Rapid Community Assessment (RCA) is an evaluation method developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The RCA is used to quickly collect community insights about a public health issue to inform program activities. This assessment was completed by eight local health departments (LHDs) as part of NACCHO’s Partnering for Vaccine Equity (PAVE) project. The goal of this project is to address vaccination inequities among racial and ethnic minority adults to improve vaccination uptake and coverage.
By employing the RCA, LHDs were able to gain a greater understanding of the COVID-19 and influenza vaccination needs within their community(ies) of focus. The RCA equipped LHDs with the foundation to identify drivers of low vaccination rates for COVID-19 and influenza in addition to developing strategies to address low vaccination rates.
The Rapid Community Assessment Tools utilized varied across LHDs as each jurisdiction selected methods that best reached their population(s) of focus. Each LHD adapted and tailored the framework of the RCA to meet their communities needs and learn their unique vaccination needs. Commonalities in assessment findings were seen across the eight LHDs. To move from assessment to action, LHDs have identified the critical next step of identifying and partnering with community-based organizations who serve groups identified as under-vaccinated to provide access to vaccinations and public health education.
NACCHO has developed a document to summarize LHDs experience with the RCA. Furthermore, two LHDs participated in a presentation highlighting how they will utilize their RCA findings to develop and implement strategies to address inequities in adult vaccination and improve vaccination coverage.
Completing the RCA allowed LHDs to learn from their community to develop and implement tailored vaccination strategies. Community-informed strategies are critical to improve vaccination equity because communities are the experts in how they prefer to be informed, involved, and receive services. Leveraging communities’ voices allows local public health to continue to provide necessary health services and interventions through strategies that reach the population(s) of focus.