Exodus guitarist and Slayer alum Gary Holt urged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 this week, days after news of the disease's emerging Omicron variant cast a pall on hopes for the pandemic’s end.

He also pointed to a flaw in thinking behind some anti-vaxxers’ push for the unproven COVID treatment in anti-parasitic drug ivermectin in the place of vaccines.

Exodus just released their first studio effort in seven years, Persona Non Grata. Loudwire spoke to Holt about the album, his alcohol-free lifestyle and his meme-filled Instagram account. A concurrent interview with the musician found him sharing his opinion on vaccination.

Holt has first-hand experience with the coronavirus. He tested positive for the disease behind the ongoing worldwide health crisis in the pandemic's early days of March 2020, after Exodus' The Bay Strikes Back Tour with Testament and Death Angel was first postponed due to resulting pandemic restrictions. Testament vocalist Chuck Billy and Death Angel drummer Will Carroll also contracted COVID-19 on the trek.

Nearly two years later, and with the pandemic showing little sign of leaving, Holt offered an endorsement of vaccination and underscored the shot's protection.

"If everyone would get vaccinated, it wouldn't have to go on," he told The Aquarian this week. "People say that even when vaccinated, you could still get it. Well, if you could get a vaccine that reduces [a deadly disease] to a nasty cold, you don't have to overflow the hospitals and you wouldn't have to have the snowballing amount of problems it is causing. We could get back to normal."

Holt added, referring to ivermectin, "Unfortunately, some people are more willing to take a deworming agent than the vaccine. It is crazy. I wish people would realize that chemists, scientists and the pharmaceutical companies are responsible for both the vaccines and the de-wormer. There is no logic in the world anymore."

Other rock and metal musicians who've battled COVID-19 include Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, KISSGene Simmons and Paul Stanleythree members of Korn and many others. Heavy metal singer Eric Wagner died after being hospitalized with COVID pneumonia.

Vaccination and booster efforts continue across the globe as 58 percent total of U.S. citizens are now fully inoculated. Over 700,000 Americans have died of COVID, according to The New York Times.

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