As part of a series of studies on vaccine acceptance, we assessed determinants of compliance of the community-dwelling elderly with herpes zoster (HZ) vaccination in an existing influenza vaccination program. General practitioners (GPs) sent out a questionnaire to 1778 patients aged > or =65 years, and offered them free HZ vaccination simultaneously with the yearly influenza vaccination. In all, 690 patients (39%) were vaccinated against HZ; 1349 patients (76%) accepted influenza vaccination. Determinants of non-compliance with HZ vaccination were perceived lack of recommendation by the GP, unwillingness to comply with the doctor's advice, perception of low risk of contracting HZ, perception of short pain duration of HZ, and the opinion that vaccinations weaken one's natural defenses. The same determinants were associated with non-compliance with both vaccinations, but objections in general towards vaccination, a high education and difficulties to visit GPs were also important. Uptake of HZ vaccination was rather low and more data on (cost-)effectiveness might encourage GPs to offer HZ vaccination to their patients.