The safety and immunogenecity of a booster dose of live attenuated varicella-zoster virus (VZV) vaccine was evaluated in 196 healthy subjects, >or=60 years old, who had already received a VZV vaccine >5 years before. This repeat booster dose was well tolerated. Cell-mediated immunity (CMI) to VZV was measured by an interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot-forming cell (ELISPOT) assay and a limiting dilution responder cell frequency (RCF) assay. Prevaccination responses decreased as a function of increasing age but were detectable in all subjects by use of the IFN-gamma ELISPOT assay. In most subjects, VZV-specific CMI was increased at 6 weeks postvaccination. The magnitude of the vaccine-induced IFN-gamma ELISPOT response was inversely related to prevaccination values. Although there was a significant correlation between the IFN-gamma ELISPOT and RCF assays, the ELISPOT assay had greater sensitivity and a wider dynamic range. A live attenuated VZV vaccine is safe and immunogenic in an elderly population, and the vaccine-induced immunity may be monitored by the IFN-gamma ELISPOT assay.