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Gainesville, Florida / USA - May 1 2020: The brick sign of University of Florida (UF) at the intersection of Museum road and SW 13th street.Kyle L So/Shutterstock

GAINESVILLE, Florida (LifeSiteNews) – The University of Florida has doled out tens of thousands of dollars to art and media projects that promote COVID jabs among students.

The “Engaging Arts for Vaccine Confidence” at the public university is meant to encourage students to get jabbed, according to the Alligator, the campus newspaper.

“The initiative granted seven different projects with grants between $3,000 to $10,000,” the paper reported. One of the projects included a tent in front of a mural where students “could find snacks, tote bags, free condoms and even Narcan,” an opioid overdose treatment.

The university also tried to coax students to get jabbed by offering them free headshots.

“On March 21, a vaccination bus with 54 available COVID-19 vaccines was parked on the Reitz Student Union lawn while Dr. Giuliano De Portu, a photographer and UF Health Shands ER doctor, snapped headshots of students who provided proof of vaccination or chose to get vaccinated on-site,” the paper reported.

“The team received $5,000 from UF to put on this two-phase project in November, [the organizer] said.”

“Dr. De Portu shot portraits of 20 students, two of whom received a booster shot … These students will receive a free digital copy of their professional headshot,” the Alligator reported. “The organizers will display the portraits along with students’ statements on why they chose to get vaccinated in April.”

The university’s media team did not respond to a request for comment Friday from LifeSiteNews on how much money had been spent and where the funds came from.

Governor Ron DeSantis’ office told LifeSiteNews that each individual should make their own risk calculation, as many college students could already have natural immunity from a prior COVID infection.

“For young adults, including university students, the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination may or may not outweigh any potential risks,” Press Secretary Christina Pushaw said in an email. “Many young adults have already had COVID-19 and recovered, meaning they have robust natural immunity. Young people who do not have comorbidities are unlikely to get seriously ill if infected.”

“Unfortunately, existing COVID-19 vaccines do not stop transmission of the virus; vaccinated people can get infected and transmit the virus to others,” she stated. “There is no ethical basis or public health justification for COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and COVID-19 vaccination must be an individual choice.”

She noted that the state has protected students from jab mandates.

“Under state law, educational institutions in Florida are not allowed to require COVID-19 vaccination for students, professors, or staff,” Pushaw said. “Anything that infringes upon individuals’ rights to freely make the private medical decision that’s best for them, is wrong.”

Pushaw noted that Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo has discouraged COVID vaccination for healthy kids.