Next fall, California junior high and high school students will be required to get the pertussis vaccine, also known as Tdap.
Pediatric experts say immunizing everyone within a family can help protect infants.
"You can prevent the spread to young babies," said Dr. John Cherry of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. "The deaths are all in children under 2 months old."
Whooping cough or pertussis typically starts with a cough and runny nose for up to two weeks. It is followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits.
The illness is treatable with antibiotics.