The aim of this study was to assess the uptake of varicella vaccine in South Australian children under circumstances where varicella immunisation is recommended, but is not funded by Government. The study examined the main reasons that determined a parent's decision whether or not to have their child immunised with varicella vaccine. A cross-sectional survey was conducted by Computer Aided Telephone Interviews (CATI) in June 2004. Data were obtained from 613 households containing 1148 children aged from birth to 17 years of age. Statistical analyses were performed using data weighted to the South Australian population. Six hundred and eighty children (55.7%) had a history of varicella infection and 446 children (42.0%) had received varicella vaccine (weighted data). The most common reasons cited for not having children immunised included lack of knowledge about the vaccine and cost. One year after inclusion of varicella vaccine in the Australian Standard Vaccination Schedule there is evidence of incomplete coverage in children in South Australia due to absence of government funding for vaccine provision.