The introduction and the widespread use of the varicella vaccine in Taiwan has led to a 75–80% decrease in the incidence of varicella in children. However the vaccine's long-term impact on the incidence of herpes zoster (HZ) has attracted attention. By controlling gender, underlying diseases, and age effects, a Poisson regression was applied on the 2000–2008 chart records of 240 000 randomly selected residents who enrolled in the Universal National Health Insurance. The results show that, as the vaccine coverage in children increases, the incidence of varicella decreases. However, the incidence of HZ increased even before the implementation of the free varicella vaccination programme in 2004, particularly in females. The increase in the incidence of HZ cannot be entirely and directly attributed to the widespread vaccination of children. Continuous monitoring is needed to understand the secular trends in HZ before and after varicella vaccination in Taiwan and in other countries.