Background The COVID-19 public health crisis has produced an immense and quickly evolving body of evidence. This research speed and volume, along with variability in quality, could overwhelm public health decision-makers striving to make timely decisions based on the best available evidence. In response to this challenge, the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools developed a Rapid Evidence Service, building on internationally accepted rapid review methodologies, to address priority COVID-19 public health questions. Methods Each week, we receive requests from public health decision-makers and frame the prioritized topics into searchable questions. We develop and conduct a comprehensive search strategy and critically appraise all relevant evidence using validated tools. We synthesize the findings into a final report that includes key messages, with a rating of the certainty of the evidence using GRADE, as well as an overview of evidence and remaining knowledge gaps. Rapid reviews are typically completed and disseminated within two weeks. Results As of May 12, 2021, we have answered more than 29 distinct questions and completed 28 updates as new evidence emerged. Reviews receive an average of 200 downloads per week, with some reaching up to 5000. To date reviews have been accessed and cited around the world, and a more fulsome evaluation of impact on decision making is planned. Conclusions The development, evolution, and lessons learned from our process, presented here, provides a real-world example of how review-level evidence can be made available – rapidly and rigorously, and in response to decision-makers’ needs – during an unprecedented public health crisis.