HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is ramping up services in an effort to stay ahead of the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting an increase in monkeypox cases. Total case numbers surpass 4,500, and six of those cases have been reported in Alabama.

“Monkeypox is not COVID, but it is contagious,” said Sec. Xavier Becerra of the Department of Health and Human Services. “It is painful, and it can be dangerous. At the Department of Health and Human Services, our goal is pretty straightforward: stay ahead of the virus and end this outbreak.”

Monkeypox vaccines and treatments are being distributed across the country. More than 300,000 vaccines have made their way to clinicians, and nearly 800,000 additional doses will soon be shipped out to areas with the largest case numbers.

Becerra said health officials are working to end the spread.

“You can’t end it if you’re falling behind, so our task is to stay ahead of it now,” Becerra said. “That’s why we have procured more than a million vaccines already even though there have been less than five thousand cases.”

Becerra said current vaccine dose distribution is being prioritized to at-risk persons in high-risk communities, but as the disease spreads, vaccine availability may open up to the general public.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the state has so far received 1200 doses of the monkeypox vaccine.