A clinical trial was conducted to compare the combination measles, mumps, rubella, varicella vaccine (MMRV) and the standard measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and subsequent varicella vaccine (MMR + V) in 15 to 17 month old healthy children. Both the MMRV and MMR + V schedules stimulated virtually 100% seroconversion for all component viruses. Mean antibody titers were similar for each virus component in the two vaccine groups. Clinical reactivity post immunization was also similar with 25-29% morbilliform rashes, 12-25% mild papulovesicular (varicella) rashes, and 12.5-18% temperature elevations above 101 degrees F. Antibodies to measles, mumps, and rubella viruses were persistent in 8/10 originally seronegative MMRV vaccinees and 5/5 MMR + V recipients tested. On MMRV recipient had a household exposure to chickenpox during the year postvaccination that resulted in a subclinical boost in varicella antibody titer. Two children in the MMR + V group had close varicella exposures: one developed mild varicella (20 lesions). There were no known exposures to natural measles, mumps, or rubella. Three of four MMRV vaccinees with low titer antibody to varicella prior to immunization had greater than four-fold rises in antibodies. The combination measles, mumps, rubella, varicella vaccine is an immunogenic, safe and cost effective approach to varicella immunization of healthy children.